Changing Lifestyles in Transforming Societies
Drinking culture among young Estonian adults: Maarja Kobin
Drinking culture among young Estonian adults Maarja Kobin Introduction Recent studies (Beccaria 2010) have indicated that there is a trend towards more diversified drinking cultures in both traditionally ‘southern’ European and ‘northern’ European drinking regions. Estonia, above all, has been described as a country with a heavy drinking tradition, representing the Northern drinking culture. In order to fully understand drinking patterns in different countries, one needs to understand the underlying motives, beliefs, values and norms that con- stitute alcohol culture in everyday drinking situations, and which legitimise drinking habits. Everyday drinking is seen as something that is self-evident – drinking that is considered socially normal and acceptable. What is considered normal or abnormal depends on cultural traditions and different cultural contexts where drinking is practiced. From a micro-sociological perspective, and through in-depth research, this chapter explores the drinking practices of young people who, on the one hand, continue to be influenced by previously existing norms and values, but on the other hand, are the ones who are the most open-minded and receptive to new ideas and fashions, who are also integrated into different youth cultures and, therefore, are also capable of changing and creating new norms and values con- cerning alcohol consumption. The chapter explores the distinctive characteristics of present-day, socially accepted alcohol consumption practices in Estonia among young adults. More specifically, the purpose is to analyse the ritualistic function of drinking. The ritualistic function of drinking and ritualistic drinking practices in this article are seen as a ‘liminal phase’ that...
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