Drinking places in their various forms – pubs, bars, taverns, night clubs, etc – have been important institutions in many societies throughout history and across the world. Often, however, they have been relatively neglected by scholarly research – seen as sites of frivolity or debauchery that require little analysis. Yet recent scholarship has demonstrated that drinking places have actually fulfilled a wide range of functions in their host societies: yes, they serve as facilitators of intoxication, but also as key sites of sociability and the formation of identities and communities; as important centres of political discussion and public opinion; as providers of work and income; as nodal points in communication networks; as sites where gender norms are both reinforced and challenged. In short, they are institutions of fundamental social, cultural, economic and political importance.
This cluster will draw together the Network‘s existing expertise on drinking places – which is especially strong in the English historical context – and look to build on that by attracting new members interested in these institutions, especially in other countries and in the present day.
The cluster will revolve around a series of events exploring the roles played by drinking places across time and space, bringing together perspectives from a diverse range of scholarly disciplines. The overarching aim will be to develop a better understanding of their place within society, and subsequently to bring our findings to bear upon policy debates about drinking places, and to disseminate them to a wider public beyond academia.
Bios of coordinators:
Andrew Butler (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies at Canterbury CCU and his research interests include pubs and drinking, especially binge drinking and ‘vertical’ drinking.