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Alcohol and the Jews (again), race and medicine (again): on race and medicine in historical perspective

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The question of why or whether Jews have a resistance to alcoholism is now the subject of genetic research. Parallel to investigations into such perceived resistance in other groups (such as Asians’), the recent work makes global claims that can be shown to have very specific social and historical origins. The accusation that the Jews abused alcohol was rebutted in the eighteenth century as Jews entered into the German-speaking public sphere. The key to such access was adherence to rules of decorum’, and the public consumption of alcohol was central to this project.

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Keywords: Jews; alcoholism; genetics of addiction; race

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2006

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