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Anthropology And Alcohol Studies: Current Issues

D. Heath
Published 1987 · Sociology

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Anthropological data, methods, and concepts have contributed significantly over many years to our understanding of the interactions between alcohol and the human animal. Ironically, such contributions appear to be recognized more widely among practitioners and professionals in health and policy fields than within the discipline of anthropology. In this paper, I briefly review the major impacts of anthropologists on the broad field of alcohol studies. I emphasize the striking changes that have taken place since the 1970s, and discuss current issues that are focusing multidisciplinary attention on such work. Brief discussion provides an historical context for both the multi­ disciplinary realm of alcohol studies and the roles of anthropology within it. The specifically anthropological issues within alcohol studies include types of populations studied, links made between alcohol and other factors in cultural context, and the range of research methods used. I note the practical im­ plications of all the foregoing and offer general conclusions, emphasizing the impact of anthropological perspectives.
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