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Doing adulthood—doing alcohol: what happens when the ‘sober generation’ grows up?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2593-1931
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0856-9854
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Public Health Sciences, Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs (SoRAD).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2473-6330
2022 (English)In: Journal of Youth Studies, ISSN 1367-6261, E-ISSN 1469-9680, no 1, p. 84-99Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Since the 2000s, there has been a worldwide trend of decreased alcohol consumption among young people. Although recent studies have given multiple explanations for this, we know little about the meaning of alcohol for this generation as they enter adulthood. The aim of this article is therefore to describe and analyze the age-related views toward alcohol among this group as they transition from adolescents to adults. The study was based on 39 qualitative interviews with people aged 17–21. Theoretical concepts such as doing age and symbolic boundaries were used to analyze the material and investigate how age can structure alcohol use, and how alcohol consumption can be narrated to produce maturity and adulthood. The analysis showed that participants presented their relation to alcohol in nuanced and responsible ways, signaling maturity. The participants’ navigation of acceptable alcohol consumption differs in terms of agency and control in different life phases. ‘Doing adulthood’ in relation to alcohol for abstainers and drinkers seems to center on the same understandings of legitimate behavior: being moderate, nuanced, and in control. This focus linked alcohol to the position these emerging adults hold in wider society, given that participants incorporated societal demands for a neoliberal lifestyle.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2022. no 1, p. 84-99
Keywords [en]
alcohol, sober, emerging adulthood, qualitative, boundary work, doing age
National Category
Social Work Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Public Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-186621DOI: 10.1080/13676261.2020.1844173ISI: 000588824100001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-186621DiVA, id: diva2:1500661
Projects
Systembolagets Alkoholforskningsråd FO2018-0048Ungas hälsa
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2016–00313Available from: 2020-11-12 Created: 2020-11-12 Last updated: 2022-10-20Bibliographically approved

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Månsson, JosefinSamuelsson, EvaTörrönen, Jukka

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