Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Literature Review #1: Drinking Games

Gladwell, Malcolm. "Drinking Games." Gladwell.com. 15 Feb. 2010. Web. 10 Nov. 2015. <http://gladwell.com/drinking-games/>.

This article written by Malcolm Gladwell takes the reader through an experience that Yale University anthropology graduate Dwight Heath had in Bolivia while interacting with the native Camba people. Heath noticed the stark contrast in the way that the Camba drink alcohol compared to people in European or American countries. There, alcohol is used as a part of a larger tradition; rather than providing an escape from everyday life, alcohol is used to become closer as a society and strengthens the ties between the community. The author then uses Heath's findings to come to the conclusion that alcohol can be a tool for good when consumed as part of a larger structure or tradition, rather than for enjoyment or amusement.

Malcolm Gladwell is a Canadian journalist and author of five best selling books, all having to do with "unexpected implications of research in the social sciences" (Wikipedia). Gladwell's work has also been recognized by his appointment to the Order of Canada.

Myopia Theory- Those who drink alcohol become increasingly more tuned into the environment, making him "at the mercy" of whatever is in front of the drinker due to lowered inhibitions.

Camba Rum- a 180-proof alcohol that the Camba people drink regularly. 180-proof is equal to 90% alcohol by volume, which is very close to pure grain alcohol. Despite the Camba people partaking in this highly alcoholic drink, they exhibit no social pathology, arguments, disputes, or sexual aggression.

"...'There was no social pathology—none. No arguments, no disputes, no sexual aggression, no verbal aggression. There was pleasant conversation or silence.' On the Brown University campus, a few blocks away, beer—which is to Camba rum approximately what a peashooter is to a bazooka—was known to reduce the student population to a raging hormonal frenzy on Friday nights."

"Those weekly drinking parties were not chaotic revels; they were the heart of Camba community life. They had a function, and the elaborate rituals—one bottle at a time, the toasting, the sitting in a circle—served to give the Camba’s drinking a clear structure."

"When confronted with the rowdy youth in the bar, we are happy to raise his drinking age, to tax his beer, to punish him if he drives under the influence, and to push him into treatment if his habit becomes an addiction. But we are reluctant to provide him with a positive and constructive example of how to drink. The consequences of that failure are considerable, because, in the end, culture is a more powerful tool in dealing with drinking than medicine, economics, or the law."

This article is incredibly useful for me in making my argument that the college drinking problem is a cultural one, not a legal one. 

  • "Malcolm Gladwell." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 09 November 2015. Web. 10 Nov. 2015..

No comments:

Post a Comment