Alcohol, Violence, and Disorder in Traditional Europe

Truman State University Press

Traditional Europe had high levels of violence and of alcohol consumption, both higher than they are in modern Western societies, where studies demonstrate a link between violence and alcohol. A. Lynn Martin uses an anthropological approach to examine drinking, drinking establishments, violence, and disorder, and compares the wine-producing south with the beer-drinking north and Catholic France and Italy with Protestant England, and explores whether alcohol consumption can also explain the violence and disorder of traditional Europe. 

          Both Catholic and Protestant moralists believed in the link, and they condemned drunkenness and drinking establishments for causing violence and disorder. They did not advocate complete abstinence, however, for alcoholic beverages had an important role in most people's diets. Less appreciated by the moralists was alcohol's function as the ubiquitous social lubricant and the increasing importance of alehouses and taverns as centers of popular recreation.

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About the author

A. Lynn Martin is an award-winning historian, a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, and a recipient of a Centenary Medal from the Australian government for his contribution to Australian society through history. Born in Iowa, Professor Martin received his education at the University of Oregon and the University of Wisconsin before moving to Australia in 1973. His publications include Alcohol, Sex, and Gender in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe, Henry III and the Jesuit Politicians, The Jesuit Mind: The Mentality of an Elite in Early Modern France, and Plague? Jesuit Accounts of Epidemic Disease in the Sixteenth Century. In 1997 Professor Martin became founder and director of the University of Adelaide’s Research Centre for the History of Food and Drink, a position he held until 2004.  Although retiring at the end of 2003, Professor Martin still keeps active as a visiting research fellow.
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Additional Information

Truman State University Press
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Published on
Oct 1, 2009
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History / Europe / Western
History / Social History
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