Event: Conference “Drink and Power. Alcohol and the Making of Illiberal Regimes in the Long 20th Century”

Due to its pharmacological qualities to influence human body and behavior, alcohol consumption and policies are often examined as a prism into understanding societal norms and the question of power. Yet while much has been written about alcohol’s role in modern western democracies, we know little about how alcohol was discussed, managed and appropriated under conditions of illiberal regimes. The international workshop aims to better understand how leaders and people in autocratic, authoritarian, dictatorial and colonial regimes in the long 20th century dealt with issues of alcohol consumption and production. We define illiberal regimes as systems of governance with an unrestrained executive power and absence of political pluralism, and ask whether the nature of a political regime influenced the ways their leaders and the people handled drinking.
Alcohol’s ambivalent function both as a medium for social bonding and disciplining, but also as the potential cause for loss of control and transgression of social and political boundaries allows for better understanding the everyday life in and population politics of modern illiberal regimes. Rather than simply treating alcohol consumption as practices of resistance against or escapism from the repressive state, we ask how drinking and drunkenness was appropriated and controlled by political leaders, but also by various groups and individuals. How were the limits of socially acceptable and inacceptable drinking negotiated between the state and/or among individuals? Can top-down alcohol policies in illiberal regimes be considered as a prism into their societies’ social worlds? We are interested in bringing together diverse narratives and practices of alcohol consumption and production on individual, communal, rural, urban and national scales. We also welcome comparisons between alcohol policies in liberal and illiberal regimes, but also between illiberal regimes.

Principal investigators
Wildt, Michael Prof. Dr. (Details) (German History of the 20th Century)

Fritz Thyssen Stiftung

Duration of project
Start date: 03/2019
End date: 03/2019

Research Areas

Last updated on 2022-18-11 at 04:05