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Women drinking out in Britain since the early twentieth century$
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David W. Gutzke

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780719052644

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719052644.001.0001

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Yesterday’s reforms, today’s bingeing

Yesterday’s reforms, today’s bingeing

(p.218) 10 Yesterday’s reforms, today’s bingeing
Women drinking out in Britain since the early twentieth century

David W. Gutzke

Manchester University Press

Radically different responses to the drink problem among one key group, the drink sellers, most distinguishes the interwar years from the present. Interwar Progressive brewers accepted responsibility for serious drink problems, whereas most present-day drink sellers blame other factors. Modifying the drinking environment became critical to inculcating new drinking norms antithetical to drunkenness after World War I. Victorian assumptions that deficient characters fostered insobriety, rejected later by Progressive brewers, have been revived in the present debate on binge drinking. Modern-day politicians see excess drinking and drunkenness as the result of individual choice. From this perspective, drink sellers and the government are absolved of responsibility for any role in discouraging excessive drinking and insobriety. Thus, today as in the pre-1914 era, insobriety stemmed from character flaws for which the individual was solely responsible.

Keywords:   Progressivism, Carlisle experiment, Food consumption, Sydney O. Nevile, Public house improvement, Brewers’ social conscience, Women patrons, Environmentalism, Alcoholic potency

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