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Monday, April 29, 2013

Intoxicating stories: The characteristics, contexts and implications of drinking stories among Danish youth


To study the characteristics, contexts and implications of drinking stories among young drinkers.

Ethnographic fieldwork was conducted among Danish youth at a beach resort in Bulgaria. The fieldwork included three months of participant observation and 45 semi-structured interviews with a total of 104 tourists and 11 guides. The participants in the study were aged between 16 and 26 years.

The participants often shared drinking stories with each other. The stories they told involved alcohol consumption followed by one or several acts of transgression such as stripping, fighting or vomiting. They generally told the stories with amusement or pride. However, some stories were told in a critical tone and focused on negative experiences. The data suggest that for many participants, part of their reason for engaging in heavy drinking and drunken transgressions was that they wanted to build a repertoire of personal drinking stories. Their drinking behaviour was subtly motivated, inspired and guided by the drinking stories that they heard from others, as well as by the drinking stories that they themselves wanted to create.

There is an intimate interactional relationship between drinking behaviour and drinking stories. Drinking behaviours can generate stories, but the stories, in turn, influence behaviours and attitudes related to alcohol. Drinking stories are therefore key to understanding drinking among youth.

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