Abstract

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This presentation will provide a background for Gabriel’s PhD project exploring declining trends in youth drinking in Australia. Using a social generations framework, it will explore shifting trends in alcohol use by young people within a socio-historical context, and will examine social changes within the last 20 years that are likely to have had an influence on youth drinking trends. Drawing on qualitative data collected from interviews with teenage abstainers and light drinkers, this presentation will then briefly cover two papers. The first paper will show how young people are able to be more reflexive in their choices whether or not to drink, which leads them to challenge alcohol’s normative status. The second paper will show how young people are able gain new types of pleasure by not drinking much (or at all), and how this helps them construct their choice as a positive social achievement. Together, these two papers provide a basis for understanding the link between broader social changes and how this has affected the way young people think about alcohol.

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