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Abstract

Abstract

Alcohol is a special form of embodied material culture and the most widely used psychoactive agent in the world. It has been a fundamentally important social, economic, political, and religious artifact for millennia. This review assesses trends in the anthropological engagement with alcohol during the past two decades since the last covered this subject. It highlights the growing archaeological contributions to the field, as well as recent developments by sociocultural anthropologists and social historians. Increasing historicization has been a useful corrective to the earlier functionalist emphasis on the socially integrative role of drinking. Recent studies tend to employ a more strategic/agentive analytical framework and treat drinking through the lens of practice, politics, and gender. Moreover, alcohol has come to be seen as an important component of the political economy and a commodity centrally implicated in strategies of colonialism and postcolonial struggles over state power and household relations of authority.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.anthro.35.081705.123120
2006-10-21
2024-05-27
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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