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The pub, the village and the people

Hunt, G (1989) The pub, the village and the people. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.85951) (KAR id:85951)


The aim of this thesis was to investigate the culture of drinking in a rural community. The emphasis on culture in the title was to

distinguish it from the type of research normally found in the alcohol field. So much of the literature in alcohol research has been

dominated by a concern with alcohol problems. The research for this thesis was based on two years fieldwork in an East Anglian community and involved extensive participant observation both in the pubs in the village and in the homes of the residents. I examined the way in which drinking both publicly and privately was

organised into particular social groups which were based on class, gender, community membership and age. The major findings of my research were as follows: First I discovered that the pubs in the village did not conform to the popular idea of pubs as public drinking places open to people from different social backgrounds. Instead they tended to reinforce the social divisions which already operated in the community. Second although I had set out to investigate the culture of drinking I found that each social group possessed its own distinctive culture of drinking which determined who drank where, when, with whom and in what way. Moreover none of these cultures were organised solely around drinking but instead were developed around ways of pursuing a particular type of

social life. Third I was struck by the fact that in spite of a relatively high consumption of alcohol by some people, drinking was not seen as a social problem. Finally I attempted to make use of some anthropological ideas to show how group culture worked to control potentially problematic aspects

of drinking. I hope that these efforts will be of benefit to researchers involved in the study of alcohol problems.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.85951
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Culture of drinking; Rural communities
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:22 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 11:26 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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