Missing Masculinities: Gendering Practices in Australian Alcohol Research and Policy
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© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. The issue of ‘alcohol-fuelled violence’ has been the subject of intense policy debate in Australia. While this debate is warranted, its contours and content have been informed and shaped by a surprisingly narrow range of research resources. Narrow research engagements of this kind warrant scrutiny because they can exclude from consideration crucial issues. In this article we identify one such issue, that of gender. Following a review of the Australian literature on gender, alcohol and violence, our analysis explores four case studies drawn from the Australian research corpus, focusing on large quantitative studies as these tend to receive most attention and citation in policy debate. Such studies consistently erase the contribution of key gender dynamics, namely enactments of particular (often youthful) masculinities, to violence involving alcohol, even where they simultaneously provide strong support in their data for such a conclusion. We show how this research is mobilised specifically in support of claims about the causal role of alcohol in violence and of blanket population-level responses to the problem. There is an urgent need to map the character and scope of the tendency to erase certain gender issues in research on alcohol and violence in order to better inform policy responses.
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