Food, Drink and Identity in Europe

By Thomas M. Wilson | Go to book overview

HITTING THE BAR:
ALCOHOL, FOOTBALL IDENTITIES
AND GLOBAL FLOWS IN NORWAY

Gary Armstrong and Hans Hognestad


Abstract

Drawing upon ethnographic research conducted over five years
(1999-2004) in the Norwegian cities of Oslo and Bergen this paper
examines alcohol consumption and its association with domestic and
transnational football supporter cultures. It examines the historical
contexts of football that have produced the everyday (routinised)
drinking in contemporary Norwegian society, and explores how
football support in recent decades has provided extraordinary
drinking occasions which go beyond previous forms of heavy
drinking that were associated with the life-cycle and the religious
calendar. Football fandom has facilitated a new attitude to alcohol
consumption and has taught the benefits of routinised mature (non-
inebriated) consumption to a population emerging out of state
sanctioned sobriety. Intertwined within such routinised occasions are
narratives around concepts of masculinity, localism and national
identities.

As Mary Douglas (1987, 8-12) has argued, all cultures celebrate and most do so with alcohol. Where and what a people drink is surely worthy of anthropological analysis. Yet alcohol production and consumption were until very recently a relatively neglected area of anthropological inquiry (Heath 1976, Heath 1987, Heath 2000; deGanne and deGanne 2001; Wilson 2005). This is surprising because prolonged ethnography in any culture often demands alcoholic intake on the part of the ethnographer. Yet anthropologists have been relatively reluctant to narrate such experiences to the pages of knowledge. Ethnographic studies on this

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