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Stringent Social Norms May Encourage Drinking Culture

Countries like the United Kingdom that place high importance on strict social norms and rules on proper behavior may also give rise to drinking cultures. This was one of the findings of a recent report on alcohol and violence that was released by the International Center for Alcohol Policies.

Drinking cultures are essentially marked by violent or negative behavior that are caused by excessive alcohol intake. The said report came up with 11 cultural characteristics that may be risk factors for domestic violence and homicide among others.

Entitled, “Alcohol and Violence: Exploring Patterns and Responses,” ICAP’s report looks in to the link between violence and alcohol use based on various fields of knowledge including anthropology, human rights law, clinical psychology and public health. “We need to look more closely at the meaning attached to both drinking and violence in different cultures without assuming that one causes the other,” says Anne Fox, PhD of Galahad SMS Ltd. in England. Fox is one of the contributors of the said report. She further discussed that certain characteristics of a society may also influence the frequency of cases of homicide, domestic abuse and other types of violence. Among the many aspects that may foster violence in culture include the following:

1. Media coverage of aggression and violence
2. The society’s willingness to take part in wars. This translates to a higher level of interpersonal violence
3. prevalence of violent sports activities
4. an obvious economic inequality
5. patriarchal societies

Dr. Fox, through her paper which was part of the report, recommended that it’s important to alter the society’s perception of alcohol as well as that of violence and aggression in order to remove the culture of violence in a community. Aside from Dr. Fox’s paper, other materials were also included in the report. “The Role of Drinking Patterns and Acute Intoxication in Violent Interpersonal Behaviors,” for instance analyzes violence and the individual’s predisposition for it. “Working with Culture to Prevent Violence and Reckless Drinking,” on the other hand looks at violence from the point of view of gender roles and norms. Another paper, “Practical Responses: Communications Guidelines for First Responders in Cases of Alcohol-Related Violence,” offers guidelines that can be used to improve communication among responders such as the police and social workers in relation to violence linked to alcohol use.

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