Thursday, October 23, 2008

Strict Societies May Foster Violent Drinking Cultures

Science Daily reported on October 2, 2008 on a report from the International Center For Alcohol Policies (ICAP) which reports on studies on alcohol and violence. Here is a snippet from the Science Daily report:

Countries with strict social rules and behavioral etiquette such as the United Kingdom may foster drinking cultures characterized by unruly or bad behavior, according to a new report on alcohol and violence released today by International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP). The report lists 11 cultural features that may predict levels of violence such as homicide and spousal abuse.


Violence-reinforcing cultures tend to share the following features:

Cultural support (in media, norms, icons, myths, and so on) for aggression and aggressive solutions;

Militaristic readiness and participation in wars—societies that are frequently at war have consistently higher rates of interpersonal violence as well;

Glorification of fighters;

Violent sports;

Corporal and capital punishment;

Socialization of male children toward aggression;

Belief in malevolent magic;

Conspicuous inequality in wealth;

A higher than normal proportion of young males in the society;

Strong codes of male honor—in general, societies and subgroups that actively subscribe to strong codes of honor tend to have higher rates of homicide;

A culture of male domination.

In her paper, “Sociocultural Factors that Foster or Inhibit Alcohol-related Violence,” Dr. Fox argues that efforts to counteract a “culture of violence” and “the male propensity for aggression” should be channeled toward altering “beliefs about alcohol” and “social responses to violence and aggression.”

Dr. Fox seems to be describing the United States to the T with the exception of higher proportion of young males in the society.

The United States is heavily militaristic, glorifies violence, has an all voluntary, mercenary warrior class, and is the lone first world country with the death penalty.

The United States has 17,000 drunk driving deaths per year and shrugs it off as the price to pay for a glamorization of a drinking culture which associates alcohol with sports, partying, and gratuitous sex.

We pay little attention to the cultural messages sent to young people daily in our advertising culture which says that the way to have a good time is to drink beer and alcohol.

You can access the Science Daily article by clicking here.

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