Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research

Drinking and partying among young Muslim women: Exclusion in the context of a normalized youth drinking culture

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Background and aims: Danish youth drinking culture is characterized by a very high level of alcohol consumption and a focus on intoxication. Young people with Muslim backgrounds drink markedly less, but their experiences with drinking and partying have been overlooked in research concerned with youth drinking. The aim of this paper is to investigate how young Danish Muslim women experience being part of a youth culture of intoxication and how they navigate through processes of exclusion related to drinking and partying. Special attention is paid to the intersections of different social positions relevant to these processes of exclusion in drinking and partying contexts. Methods: Twenty-five in-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with 32 young Danish Muslim women (mean age 23 years) residing mainly in big cities and surrounding areas. An intersectional case study design approach was applied to investigate how certain identities become salient at particular moments or within particular contexts. Results: The Danish normalized youth culture of intoxication had various consequences for our participants, of which two stand out. First, this culture of intoxication was excluding for young Muslim women and, furthermore, seemed to enhance exclusion based on ethnicity and religion, regardless of whether our participants drank alcohol or abstained. Second, the culture of intoxication actualized gendered ideals within the young women's families, and the potential for conflicts pertaining to drinking and partying could call into doubt their experiences of belonging to a local ethno-religious community. Discussion: Due to the Danish normalized youth culture of intoxication, young Muslim women are at risk of several exclusions: exclusion from central Danish youth contexts and, potentially, from their religious and cultural roots. We discuss the importance of including agency and strategic manoeuvring in intersectional approaches because these contribute to a better understanding of the complexity found in the results and, furthermore, they help to avoid the pitfalls of determinism and essentialism in studies of minorities. We also discuss how binge drinking prevention initiatives could focus not only on health warnings but also on the social consequences of exclusion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103170
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

    Research areas

  • Alcohol, Drinking, Exclusion, Intersectionality, Parties, Young muslim women

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