Home > An investigation into the use of brands in young adult females' drinking rituals.

Tucker, Kieran (2005) An investigation into the use of brands in young adult females' drinking rituals. Masters thesis, Dublin Institute of Technology.

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Recent studies and media commentary have highlighted a dramatic increase in alcohol consumption amongst young people in Ireland. Of particular concern is the extent of heavy, episodic drinking motivated by a desire for intoxication, or binge drinking. Various possible reasons for this have been identified, among them marketing activity and the glamorising of drink culture.

The majority of studies into binge drinking define the phenomenon by volume measures of consumption alone and ignore the socio-cultural context in which alcohol is consumed. Drinking behaviours can be seen to be symptomatic of highly formalised and symbolically meaningful consumption patterns. As a ritual practice, the manner in which one drinks is related to the larger social structure in which it occurs. Ritual theory recognises the symbolic value of drinking occasions and attempts to locate this within its cultural context.

The present research demonstrates how theories of ritual can provide a richer understanding of the symbolic meaning of alcohol as made manifest in actual consumption practices. The researcher carried out ethnographic research in order to observe market-based interactions in naturally occurring settings. In addition, in-depth interviews captured Consumer’ lived-in experiences, attitudes and opinions in their own terms.

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