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“Drinking and driving is so much fun”: Arctic workshop of the University of Tartu
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5/30/2013
When: 5/30/2013
12:00 AM
Where: University of Tartu
Estonia
Contact: Aimar Vensel

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The song "Drinking and Driving” was recorded by British punk band The Business in the late 1970s and became an instant hit among beer loving punks. The song associated drinking with fun and collective action (to put it mildly) demonstrating that beer drinking can be evaluated as a process with a positive social meaning.

Punks are not the only group of people who believe that drinking is related to the pleasant side of life and is unavoidable in certain situations. The use of alcohol and its social meaning as a topic of research has an impressive history. However, in Arctic studies, alcohol is primarily discussed in the context of negative themes: alcohol related violence, suicide, the decline of indigenous traditions, culture shock and other misfortunes that result from excessive drinking. Despite the scholarly approach to alcohol use, people still continue to drink, an activity primarily associated with leisure time, joyfulness and celebration. Alcohol is deeply embedded within many rituals such as the greeting of an honoured guest, a demonstration of masculinity or as a part of religious ceremony.

This workshop at the University of Tartu explores the topic and seeks answers as to why people drink in the Arctic and whether there is anything specific in the use of alcohol that distinguishes this region from others. We examine a wide range of papers that discuss the social, political or cultural meanings of indigenous and non-indigenous alcohol use in the Arctic. Our aim is to discuss how alcohol’s agency is conceptualized in the region and how these concepts vary in different ethnic, religious, gender and age groups. Also, we are interested in the role of alcohol in field research situations and how questions of fieldwork ethics are related to this. Since we understand that barely anyone has conducted fieldwork specifically on alcohol use (even if many of us have consumed it together with our field research friends) we invite people to present their unpolished papers, hypotheses or parts of their PhD project.

Please send your abstracts of up to 300 words to Aimar.Ventsel@ut.ee by the 5th of January 2013.


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