Inabstinent women: the drunken threat

Inglis, Sheila M.C. (1993) Inabstinent women: the drunken threat. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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My thesis is that femininity is constructed as abstinent, in particular, as abstinent from public, productive labour and from the active expression of desire/pleasure. Further, that the enforcement of women's abstinence through psychiatric, psychological and sociological discourses on femininity ensures the means of patriarchal expression. Women's inabstinence, therefore, poses a threat to patriarchal expression, and insofar as patriarchy is realised through patriarchal expression, to the stability of patriarchal society. Women's drunken inabstinence, however, provides only a temporary, individualised and often self-destructive omen of the threat.

My fieldwork focuses on the processes and experiences through which women come to be administered as `alcoholic'/`problem drinkers'. My meetings and discussions with alcohol and drug agency workers and with women administratively defined as `alcoholic'/`problem drinkers' explicated the processes of the social control of all women in terms of the containment and privatisation of their active collective pursuit of pleasure. Drunken women's struggle against the strictures of femininity expresses the beginnings of a threat to patriarchy; however, insofar as the characteristics of femininity itself are `drunken' in their demands for dependency, patriarchal accessibility and a dislocation from public/productive activity, drunkenness as a critique of patriarchy is self-defeating. The challenge to patriarchy comes only in women's sober, collective refusal to abstain from passion.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Supervisor, not known
Date of Award: 1993
Depositing User: Elaine Ballantyne
Unique ID: glathesis:1993-3196
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2012
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 14:05

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