Document Type

Honors Project


Many studies of college student drinking focus on understanding the problematic consequences of alcohol use. This research, however, does less to illuminate the cultural meanings of the use of alcohol. To address this gap, I examine how students relate to drinking alcohol socially, paying particular attention to how drinking and non-drinking emerge as meaningful behaviors in particular social settings. I analyze drinking qualitatively, focusing on the student perception of the significance of alcohol consumption as part of social interaction to understand the impact that alcohol itself has on the social setting. By employing an Actor-Network Theory framework I conclude that the presence of alcohol defines the setting and the types of interaction that take place. I also find that frequent drinkers, non-frequent drinkers, and abstainers engage in various identity-management strategies to facilitate or impede interaction by using setting-specific strategies.


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