Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research

When alcohol acts: An actor-network approach to teenagers, alcohol and parties

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Jakob Demant, Denmark
  • Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research
 

Sociological studies into alcohol use seem to find it difficult to deal with the substance itself. Alcohol tends to be reduced to a symbol of a social process and in this way the sociological research loses sight of effects beyond the social. This paper suggests a new theoretical approach to the study of alcohol and teenagers' (romantic) relationships, inspired by actor-network theory (ANT). The central feature of ANT is to search for relationships, or rather networks, between all things relevant to the phenomenon. All material and semantic structures, things, persons, discourses, etc. that influence a given situation are described as actants and are entered into the analysis. The aim of this paper is to propose a way of including materiality in sociological analyses of alcohol and to explore ways of using focus group interview material in ANT-inspired analysis. By analyzing a girl's development from being a non-drinker at the age of 14, to a heavy drinker at 16, the paper investigates how the actants brought out by young people themselves constitute different forms of agency. The analysis is based on a qualitative study consisting of 37 focus groups conducted with teenagers in Denmark over a three-year period.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBody & Society
Volume15
Issue1
Pages (from-to)25-46
Number of pages22
ISSN1357-034X
Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Research areas

  • gender, actor network theory, youth, sexuality, social theory, alcohol

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