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Alcohol, social policy and the state in Australia

Petersen, Alan R. (1987) Alcohol, social policy and the state in Australia. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

This thesis examines policy and policy-making in the area of alcohol abuse and drink-driving in Australia. It aims to challenge dominant ideologies about alcohol abuse and to show how these ideologies inform and constrain social action. The thesis develops a specific theoretical analysis to account for approaches to policy-making by the state and to show, in particular, how these have become manifest in the development of a policy on drinking and driving in the state of Victoria. The most general and distinguishing feature of policy development in the alcohol area, it is contended, is the influence of medical ideology which sees social problems as arising from within the individual and also, most recently, in a philosophy which defines problems as the outcome of faulty life-styles. The major part of the thesis is concerned with showing how the focus on alcohol abuse is bound-up with 'individualization', and especially 'medicalization', of the problem of road traffic accidents and how this process has served to divert attention from an examination of the structural changes needed to overcome this problem. In conclusion, the thesis maps an alternative plan of action on alcohol-related problems. This plan will assist policy-makers. social workers and others working with the victims of alcohol abuse to exploit the 'contradictions' emerging within the late capitalist state.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Social Inquiry
Supervisor(s): Baldock, Cora and Cushing, Robert
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/51301
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