The culture of drinking alcohol is so old and so deeply embedded in our minds that we can hardly understand people that choose to abstain.
Whatever your personal views are, however, there is a good chance that you will have to write an alcohol research paper at some point. The course doesn’t matter – the consumption of alcohol touches on multiple domains of our lives and thus is an important issue to cover in a paper.
What are the angles you could take to write about alcohol and its consumption in the modern society?
Regional and cultural differences
In Japan, it is considered impolite if you drink something different from what your boss drinks at a work party. In the U.S., you are free to drink whatever you please. How does alcohol consumption interact with cultural values? How are the amount and the kind of alcohol you drink influenced by your cultural origins?
What are the cultural differences of alcohol consumption? What is the attitude towards drunk people? Again, in Japan, a drunk person is respected and taken care of by strangers. In post-Soviet countries such as Belarus, you had better avoid wandering streets while drunk or you might be prosecuted.
What are the differences in the attitude towards day drinking in different countries? Why having a bottle of wine for lunch is considered normal in France and Italy but would be frown upon in the U.S.?
Alcohol as inspiration
What are the mechanisms that force people of art to drink heavily? Is it a source of inspiration or a way to escape reality? How are drinking people portrayed in literature and art? Does their drinking serve the purpose of shaping a character?
The prohibition and the desire of the forbidden
Are governmental initiatives effective to curb drinking? If not all, then which ones? Doesn’t the limitation of alcohol production and sales force the population to produce their own drinks of much lower quality?
Are pricing initiatives effective as they have it in Norway, where a bottle of beer costs you an arm and a leg?
Alcohol as a negotiation and communication tool
It’s no secret that smoking is one of the communication means – you get out to have a smoke, you talk to colleagues, you find things in common, and finally, you make friendships. There are still circles where the consumption of alcohol is an integral part of the negotiation process. Can alcohol be withdrawn from such circles without dealing harm?
Alcohol and crime
The offenders are often let off the hook due to their alcohol intoxication and thus inability to evaluate the situation correctly. Should we reconsider the responsibility for committing a felony while drunk?
The obvious division in attitude towards people of different classes who committed crimes under the influence, i.e. judicial injustice, is another topic to elaborate on.
Crime or disease?
The debate is hot on whether alcoholism is a crime or a disease that should be treated. Where does the responsibility end and addiction begin? How should alcoholics be treated – physically or mentally first?
People often think that having a beer every day is fine as long as it is not something stronger. Yet the effect of regular mild drinking is just as bad as getting completely drunk on stronger drinks. What other misconceptions exist that concern alcoholic drinks, the culture of drinking, its influence on the state of health, etc.?
Why do people drink?
This is hardly a new area of study, but it offers some freedom of interpretation. There are statistics on incomes and family situations of people that consume alcohol in excessive amounts, but it is only one side of the story. Are people bored or mentally oppressed? Are they looking for inspiration or retreat? Is the culture of drinking inherited or acquired?
There are multiple ways to research the culture of alcohol consumption. Our last piece of advice is to try to see it as a complex issue, with its history, traditions, and trends, not as just another bad habit.