When alcohol acts: An actor-network approach to teenagers, alcohol and parties

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt


Sociological studies into alcohol use seem to find it difficult to deal with the substance itself. Alcohol tends to be reduced to a symbol of a social process and in this way the sociological research loses sight of effects beyond the social. This paper suggests a new theoretical approach to the study of alcohol and teenagers' (romantic) relationships, inspired by actor-network theory (ANT). The central feature of ANT is to search for relationships, or rather networks, between all things relevant to the phenomenon. All material and semantic structures, things, persons, discourses, etc. that influence a given situation are described as actants and are entered into the analysis. The aim of this paper is to propose a way of including materiality in sociological analyses of alcohol and to explore ways of using focus group interview material in ANT-inspired analysis. By analyzing a girl's development from being a non-drinker at the age of 14, to a heavy drinker at 16, the paper investigates how the actants brought out by young people themselves constitute different forms of agency. The analysis is based on a qualitative study consisting of 37 focus groups conducted with teenagers in Denmark over a three-year period.

TidsskriftBody & Society
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)25-46
Antal sider22
StatusUdgivet - 2009
Eksternt udgivetJa

Bibliografisk note

Paper id:: DOI: 10.1177/1357034X08100145

ID: 104815395