On 29 June 2020 at 14:00 Mari-Liisa Parder will defend her doctoral thesis via videobridge “Communication of Alcohol Consumption Practices and Situational Abstinence as a Basis of Prevention: A Study of Estonian Adolescents” in the Council of the Institute of Social Studies.
Senior Researcher Ditte Andersen, PhD, The Danish Center for Social Science Research, Denmark
Adolescents’ alcohol use, the questions on how to prevent underage drinking and how to address the issue have been the focus of many researchers. These have also formed a hot topic in Estonian society (e.g. Inselberg, 2012; Klaus, 2011; Leppik, 2013; Oks, 2012), peaking in 2012, when Estonia stood out for its high alcohol consumption, which was almost 12 litres per capita aged 15 and over (Orro, Martens, Lepane, Josing, & Reiman, 2014). Actions regarding adolescent alcohol prevention have focused on highlighting the risks and hazards of underage alcohol consumption. Estonian adolescents, however, seek ways to minimise the risks and hazards without giving up drinking alcohol (Parder, 2011).
So far the approaches to alcohol consumption have been analysed from the perspectives of the socio-psychological approach, focusing on individual agents, or the sociological-cultural approach, focusing on structural constraints. The practice theory approach integrates the duality of agent and structure by focusing on practices as entities that are performed by individual agents as carriers of practices. In this thesis, I approach alcohol consumption and abstinence as variants of the performance of partying as cultural practice as entity. Situational abstinence is one way of performing the partying practice. Since it is methodologically and ethically challenging to observe actual practices, I relied on adolescents' shared narratives to access practices.
As the main theoretical and empirical contribution, I offer the concept of situational abstinence as the performance of a partying practice that has good potential in practical prevention programmes. The main results suggest there is a culture of non-drinking and situational abstinence and more emphasis should be placed on non-drinking and situational abstinence stories.