What Use Are Units? Critical Geographies of Alcohol Policy

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Abstract:  This paper interrogates the multiple spatialities bound up with the consumption of units as the dominant means of diagnosing “health‐related” alcohol problems and measuring “drunkenness” in international alcohol policy and research. In order to question the power afforded to units, we work at the intersection of theoretical debates concerning biopower and governmentality; emotional, embodied and affective geographies and actor network theory. Presenting empirical research from the UK we contribute to geographical agendas that seek to consider the ontological and epistemological understandings of alcohol, drinking and drunkenness. The paper concludes by calling for dialogue between social, health and medical scientists in order to develop more pertinent ways of understanding and representing the risks and benefits of alcohol consumption.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8330.2011.00927.x

Affiliations: 1: Geography, School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK; 2: School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK 3: Department of Geography, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK

Publication date: June 1, 2012

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