Date Approved

2005

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

Committee Member

Denise Reiling, PhD, Chair

Committee Member

Paul Leighton, PhD

Committee Member

Michael Nusbaumer, PhD

Abstract

This study offered valuable insight into a sub-cultural setting where heavy drinking on the street-corner occurs among a group of African-American men. Data were collected via participant observation, with two primary goals: first, to study street-corner drinking within its larger contextual settings--the family, the neighborhood and larger society--in order to more fully contextually ground this practice; second, to describe the many facets of the identity of the man who drinks on the street corner, rather than view him only as a drinking man. It became evident that the corner drinking men could be considered heavy or problem drinkers, yet ones who had reached a level of functional tolerance: even though they consumed alcohol throughout the day, the men were able to perform chores for their neighbors, and they were clearly well integrated into, and an important element of, the neighborhood’s identity. They appeared to have developed “racial victorization,” the ability to value who they were in spite of the uncontrollable external force of everyday racism. Rather than be ashamed of their lives, of which they knew the “outside” world disapproved, their public displays of drinking came to be understood as a political statement in defiance of society’s labels.

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Sociology Commons

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