Wetenschap - 18 augustus 2011

Drinking and brawling in the countryside

Fighting and drinking are part and parcel of young people's 'moral holiday'.

An average young person (aged between 14 and 22) in a rural area drinks nine glasses of alcohol in the weekend, thirty percent (two glasses) more than young people in the towns and cities. What is more, all that alcohol consumption leads to more violent behaviour. These are the findings of a study by the sociologist Don Weenink, described in the journal Justitiƫle Verkenningen. Alcohol is more frequently a factor in violence involving young people in rural areas. Weenink says rural areas have a different beer culture to urban areas. You impress your friends if you have good 'drinking fitness', i.e. you can drink a lot of beer without appearing drunk. Drinking beer and violence are part and parcel of the 'moral holidays' young people in rural areas allow themselves: weekends full of abandon, recklessness and disruption.