Expressions of Drunkenness (Four Hundred Rabbits)
Edited by Anne Fox, Mike MacAvoy
Routledge – 2011 – 208 pages
The goal of this book is to contribute to the ongoing scholarly discussion on the very serious topic of drunkenness. The phrase “four hundred rabbits” is one of many illustrations of the deep cultural, religious, and social influences on how individuals and communities view alcohol intoxication: The Aztecs believed alcohol to have a divine origin, with a god and goddess giving birth to 400 (meaning “innumerable” in ancient Aztec) divine children or “rabbit gods,” each representing a varying degree and expression of alcohol intoxication and drunkenness. Hence the book’s subtitle, which at first glance might seem light-hearted but in fact represents an in-depth look at a weighty topic.
With such rooted sociocultural factors in mind, the International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP) and DrinkWise Australia collaborated to prepare a publication that advances current understanding of the individual and collective meanings, purposes, and functions of drunkenness. As the authors explain, interpretations by different disciplines of the terms intoxication and drunkenness are often inconsistent. The chapters of this book discuss intoxication and drunkenness from three perspectives: biological, cultural, and social. By placing intoxication and drunkenness into these contexts, the book is able to offer language and conceptual tools to help advance the ongoing discussion on how best to reduce alcohol-related harm and encourage responsible enjoyment of beverage alcohol. Readers in need of an in-depth understanding of the varied dimensions of extreme drunkenness will add this excellent resource to their personal library.
"This timely collection of essays presents a range of theoretical insights to the important arena of alcohol studies. Taking as its focus the terms intoxication and drunkenness, the collection brings together an impressive group of commentators/researchers with diverse backgrounds and expertise. The essays move beyond the usual cliches about alcohol use to present a more sophisticated understanding of key terms and assumptions. The chapters are written lucidly, and draw on a range of fascinating material to make their cases." - Chris Hickey, Associate Professor, School of Education, Deakin University
"An exciting, fresh start: This close look at many and varied meanings of 'drunkenness' raises important policy questions." - Dwight Heath, Brown University
"This is a timely book dealing with intoxication and drunkenness from a biological, cultural, and social perspective. The respected authors present a powerful message to those seeking a more constructive and productive way of dealing with alcohol-related harm. A must-read for anyone working in the field." - Garry Tester, CEO, Sports Challenge Australia; Research Fellow, University of Western Australia
Grant, MacAvoy, Voices in the Debate. Stockley, Saunders, The Biology of Intoxication. Fox, The Origins of Drunkenness. Measham, Drunkenness, a Historical and Contemporary Cross-cultural Perspective: "A Voluntary Madness. Thom, Eisenbach-Stangl, Drinking Contexts and Youth Drunkenness. Worth, Concluding Remarks.
Anne Fox, PhD, is an anthropologist and an expert in drug and alcohol issues. She is a consultant on drinking and drug cultures to the British Ministry of Defence, an adviser to the UK Parliament on alcohol and aggression, has undertaken research with the Home Office, and with the UK Youth Justice Board on the nature and prevalence of substance misuse among the under eighteen offenders, and advises many organizations including the drinks industry on alcohol issues.
Mike MacAvoy, PhD, is chief executive officer of DrinkWise, Australia. He is former chairperson of the Inter-governmental Committee on Drugs, as well as of the National Drug Strategy Committee, which advises all State and Territory governments on drug-related matters in Australia.