It's the stories you tell: binge drinking, violence and celebrity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


Drawing on critical media theory, this chapter argues that alcohol aware-ness interventions should be informed by knowledge of how audiences frame and narrate risk. Scholars have pointed to the highly ambiguous messages that media circulate around alcohol. Survey and focus group data gathered as part of a drink-awareness campaign in Liverpool, Eng-land, suggests that this ambiguity is reflected in a general audience framing of alcohol within the themes of violence and celebrity. While young drinkers in this study acknowledged the dangers of excess, prioritising the threat of assault also allowed them to either abscond from national concerns over binge drinking, or understand their role in the problem as a natural, transitional phase. The highly publicized death of ex-footballer George Best from alcohol-related causes, voluntarily referenced in the focus groups, should have pierced the belief that drinking is something that young people naturally grow out of. That it did not exemplifies some of the problems in using popular culture as a vehicle for messages about wellbeing. The conclusion from this, however, is that more research is needed on how ideas about healthy drinking are developed through audience centred narratives that use media resources.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAt the Interface
Subtitle of host publicationProbing the Boundaries
EditorsVera Kalitzkus, Peter L Twohig
Place of PublicationAmsterdam Netherlands
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9789042025158
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Publication series

NameAt the Interface: Probing the Boundaries
ISSN (Print)1570-7113


  • Alcohol
  • binge drinking
  • media
  • narrative
  • violence

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