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Risk, Control and Hyper-Moderation Amongst Generation Z

Burgess, Adam (2022) Risk, Control and Hyper-Moderation Amongst Generation Z. In: Thurnell-Read, Thomas and Fenton, Laura, eds. Alcohol, Age, Generation and the Life Course. Leisure Studies in a Global Era . Palgrave Macmillan, London, UK, pp. 151-176. ISBN 978-3-031-04016-0. E-ISBN 978-3-031-04017-7. (doi:10.1007/978-3-031-04017-7_7) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:96164)

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Once overwhelmingly associated with the ‘calculated hedonism’ of binge drinking, youth drinking is in a condition of sustained decline in the UK and non-drinking has become common. This chapter uses moderation as a lens through which to examine how young people today understand and act upon the connections between alcohol, risk and control. It discusses findings from a large survey of young people (aged 18-25) who drink little or no alcohol, and focus groups with members of non-drinking university student societies . It examines participants’ understandings of moderate drinking and the constellation of concerns that were used to explain or justify these, such as physical health, mental health and vulnerability to crime. Three principal conclusions arise from this analysis. Firstly, in contrast to the definitions within scientific and political discourse, our participants conceive moderation in a primarily qualitative way. Occasionality, non-intoxication and the pursuit of pleasure through taste are key phenomenological concerns that give meaning to moderation within the lived experiences of our participants. Secondly, our participants largely adopted ‘hyper-moderate’ views of drinking in which normatively desirable drinking practices are conceived as much closer to total abstinence than to more traditional conceptions of moderation. This hyper-moderation is underpinned by a strong desire for personal control and a clear preference for the avoidance of risk, rather than its mitigation. Finally, the chapter considers the possibility that a trend towards hyper-moderation amongst ‘Generation Z’ may help to explain the decline in youth drinking and emerging inter-generational differences in drinking practices.

Item Type: Book section
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/978-3-031-04017-7_7
Uncontrolled keywords: drinking, young adults, risk, control, moderation
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Adam Burgess
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2022 16:09 UTC
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2022 08:29 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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