More than a drink

University essay from Lunds universitet/LUMID International Master programme in applied International Development and Management

Abstract: This thesis provides an insight into young men's perceptions of alcohol and drinking norms in Mongolia. The foundation of this case study is qualitative research conducted in Central Mongolia which is set into a theoretical framework of drinking norms and Goffman's concept of 'face-work'. It is argued that drinking norms have to be understood in their specific context. Traditional drinking norms are defined explicitly, with a specified minimum amount of drinking, at celebrations. In certain contexts alcohol consumption is inherently part of sociability and pressure to drink is constructed through reference to tradition, respect, trust-building and group activities such as toasting and drinking games. Alcohol consumption is furthermore closely related to stereotypical masculinities, which puts special pressure on men, to drink. The emergence of modern celebrations, the removal of seasonal restricted availability of alcohol and the introduction of new beverages create new preconditions for drinking which influence drinking norms. Having identified some external structures in which drinking takes place and shown examples of some existing norms, it is argued that alcohol consumption in Mongolia should be understood in its socio-historical and cultural context and that policies should take into consideration, the cultural specific framework in which alcohol consumption occurs.

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