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Alcohol, Power and Public Health A Comparative Study of Alcohol Policy

    214 Pages
    by Routledge

    224 Pages
    by Routledge

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    In recent years, the reduction of alcohol-related harm has emerged as a major policy issue across Europe. Public health advocates, supported by the World Health Organisation, have challenged an approach that targets problem-drinking individuals, calling instead for governments to control consumption across whole populations through a combination of pricing strategies, restrictions on retail availability and marketing regulations.


    Alcohol, Power and Public Health explores the emergence of the public health perspective on alcohol policy in Europe, the strategies alcohol control policy advocates have adopted, and the challenges they have faced in the political context of both individual states and the European Union.


    The book provides a historical perspective on the development of alcohol policy in Europe using four case studies – Denmark, England, Scotland and Ireland. It explores the relationship between evidence, values and power in a key area of political decision-making and considers what conditions create – or prevent – policy change. The case studies raise questions as to who sets policy agendas, how social problems are framed and defined, and how governments can balance public health promotion against both commercial interests and established cultural practices.


    This book will be of interest to academics and researchers in policy studies, public health, social science, and European Union studies.

    1. Introduction  2. The Emergence of the Public Health Perspective on Alcohol  3. Alcohol Policy in the European Union  4. Historic and Cultural Exploration of Drinking Patterns in Denmark  5. Danish Adaptation to the Public Health Approach to Alcohol  6. Historic and Cultural Exploration of Drinking Patterns in England  7. English Adaptation to the Public Health Approach to Alcohol  8. Historic and Cultural Exploration of Drinking Practices in Ireland  9. Irish Adaptation to the Public Health Approach to Alcohol  10. National Alcohol Policies and Rationality


    Shane Butler is a Fellow Emeritus of Trinity College Dublin, having previously been Associate Professor at Trinity’s School of Social Work and Social Policy.

    Karen Elmeland (1950–2016) conducted Danish alcohol research for almost three decades. She is the author of the book: ‘Danish alcohol culture: intoxication, ritual and regulation’ [Dansk alkoholkultur: rus, ritual og regulering]. Dr Elmeland’s special interest was alcohol intoxication, prevention, and policy. She has published widely in Nordic journals, books and contributed to a range of reports.

    Betsy Thom is Professor of Health Policy and Head of the Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at Middlesex University, UK.

    James Nicholls is Director of Research and Policy Development at Alcohol Research UK and an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Centre for History in Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He is author of The Politics of Alcohol: A History of the Drink Question in England (2009).