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Monday, August 1, 2011

Addiction and personal responsibility as solutions to the contradictions of neoliberal consumerismy

The article analyses the idealization of moderate alcohol consumption and of personal responsibility for controlling drinking behaviour as a sociocultural solution for a central contradiction in modern consumer societies.

The application of neoliberal ideals of consumer sovereignty, free market access at any hour of the day or night and unrestrained market promotion tends to push upward the population's alcohol consumption. But in many aspects of daily life – for instance, when at work, when driving a car, when minding children – modern societies require sobriety.

The ideological solution to this societal dilemma is to individualize the responsibility for handling it, apotheosizing the ideal of the moderate drinker, at the cultural level as a dream to reach for and at the individual level as an ideal of a secular pilgrim's progress.

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