Binge Drinking and Symbolic Interactionism
BINGE DRINKING AND SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM
Binge Drinking is a huge issue in the contemporary society where lives are heavily affected and destroyed. Binge Drinking involves the heavy and excessive drinking of alcohol in an episodic manner that not only affects the mind and body of the individual, but it also puts strain on the social life of the individual. Binge Drinking is often induced due to a variety of factors such as tension, stress, sadness, excess money, or even plain habit of drinking (Hasselgård-Rowe et al., 2017). However, Symbolic Interactionism can be used to explain and elaborate the origin of the social issue of Binge Drinking. Moreover, it can also be stated that Symbolic Interactionism can help to mitigate the issue of Binge Drinking from the society. The following study critically analyses and evaluates Binge Drinking in Australian Context, Symbolic Interactionism, and Symbolic Interactionism in Binge Drinking.
Binge Drinking in Australian Context
In the contemporary society, one of the biggest prevalent issues is the issue of excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages. Excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages occur when an individual is faced with tension, stress, sadness, as well as the influence of their peers, excess money, or even a plain habit of drinking. This causes the individual to be heavily intoxicated with alcohol which affects his mind, senses, body, and even his social connections. This issue is called binge drinking (Fitzgerald & Jordan, 2016). Men and women who are adults comprise of the groups of people majorly affected by binge drinking. In Australia, 48% adult males as well as 32% adult females are stated to be affected by binge drinking once in a year while, 12% males and 4% females binge drink once in a week at the very least (Keatley et al., 2017). In the age group of 20 to 29, around 18% of the Australian population binge drinks once in a week at the very least and in the under 19 age group, it has been found that female binge drink more than males. The females account for 28.4% while males account for less than 24%. It has been found that binge drinking is prevalent in all age groups up to 55 due to a variety of factors including personal, social, and economical ones (Powers et al., 2016). Binge drinking is very harmful for the society as it not only makes an individual less social, but it also strains his or her social relationships and destroys them as a side effect. Moreover, binge drinking negatively impacts others and they either resent the individual or get influenced by the individual and start binge drinking themselves. Either way this leads to various issues and problems for the binge drinkers and they end up doing things they would never want to do in a normal stable condition (Kuntsche et al., 2017).
Symbolic Interactionism is a sociology which helps mainly the mentally-weak people to interact with the sound-mind persons; it is a framework that helps the society to better understand the interactions among the individuals in a society (Rock, 2016) It is a process of understanding the interpretations that affect the interactions between the individuals. It is a social perspective which developed in the middle of the twentieth century and it spread all over the world. George Herbert Mead is considered as a founder of symbolic interactionism but his work never came into light (Denzin, 2016). The study involves observations of one-on-one interactions between the individuals within a society. In simple words, it can be explained as theory that teaches how to interact with the people and to study their behaviour in terms by symbolic means. It is parallel relationship between an individual’s behaviour and the meaning of symbols in such a manner that the behaviour can be predicted. It gives a depth understanding of interactions to the individuals. It considers human as an active and creative participants who can construct their own social world not just as passive, simple objects of socialization. It identifies the social perspectives of reality are variable and changing. It helps the individuals to learn and get know-how about the symbolic languages in the social environment. It has some weaknesses which shows its other perspectives as well, by using symbolic languages it can be interpreted wrongly or differently among different groups of people in a society that can result as a bad behaviour done by an individual as everyone has its own mentality, anyone can take that interpretation wrongly without understanding its meaning (Vannini, 2016) By using symbolic languages a problem most often occurs that it gets hard to identify and quantify things in symbolic language because the theory mainly deals with the interpretations and it is subjective in nature (Tzeng, 2017)
Human beings are active in shaping their behaviour; the individuals sometimes create their own meanings and understandings in use of symbolic language forgetting the society protocols. It overestimates the power of individuals in society; they create their own realities and perceptions. It ignores the emotional corner of human conduct and strictly focuses on logical behaviour. It seems almost astonishing that such a powerful theory of social perspectives has not resulted more useful theory for social practice (Carter & Fuller, 2016) In some manner, this theory does not seems even a theory and acts more likely as a psychological study. In our daily life, we also use this symbolic language very often with our co-workers, companions, friends, relatives and people around us. Sometimes it turns out good to have an interaction among people in such a manner and sometimes it turns into a disaster when an individual is unable to understand or misinterprets the symbolic language or the interactions.
Symbolic Interactionism in Binge Drinking
Symbolic Interactionism is done in both at a micro-level and macro- level to understand the complexities of the social aspects within the community. However, for the social issue of binge drinking, the use of different concepts of Symbolic Interactionism is required. One of the most important concepts of Symbolic Interactionism is the use of Symbols (Katovich & Rosenthal Vaughan, 2016). Symbols are a significant building block of the human conduct where symbols signify the concept or idea of a particular event, status, and even a level of being. Symbols can be either verbal or non-verbal and used to communicate with others so that they can understand the basis of it. For binge drinking, individuals are often misguided and lured by false symbols of drinking where drinking is seen as a sort of achievement (Wiseman, 2018).It has been found that binge drinking is the excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages occur when an individual is faced with tension, stress, sadness, as well as the influence of their peers, excess money, or even a plain habit of drinking. This symbol of excessive drinking can be perceived by the individual as a liberal and honor act towards drinking, transitioning from child to adulthood, medicine to cure depression or sadness or tension, and many more. These different symbolic perceptions of excessive drinking render the individual to drink more beyond their capacity to drink and as such, they start to indulge themselves in binge drinking (Rodriguez et al., 2016).
Another important concept of Symbolic Interactionism is the social acts which is a significant part of social aspect of human conduct. Social Acts refer to the interaction between the two individual parties where they are able to communicate and convey their messages effectively in a manner that is known to them mutually. These social acts are influenced by the human behavior and as such, they convey the desires that are present within the individuals. In case of the binge drinking, individuals are sometimes pressured or forced in drinking with their friends, companions, coworkers, and known people (McGee, 2017). Social acts are employed in such cases where the known companions of the individual lure them to drink. This encourages the individual and as such, they involve in binge drinking under the influence of the social acts from the peers. However, while the use of symbols and social acts are a major mode of influencer for binge drinking, conversely, the use of these symbols and social acts can be manipulated and used to prohibit binge drinking. Not only would these reverse the influence of Symbolic Interactionism in Binge Drinking, but it would also help in the decline of the binge drinking part of the Australian population (MacLean, 2016).
The above-written study critically analyses and evaluates Binge Drinking in Australian Context, Symbolic Interactionism, and Symbolic Interactionism in Binge Drinking. Symbolic Interactionism is a theory of sociology that depicts the use of visual communication between two or more parties in the process of interaction between them. Symbols and Social Acts are used for inducing binge drinking for any individual in any situation. Both Symbols and Social Acts can encourage an individual heavily for binge drinking and ironically, they can also be used to prevent, discourage, and prohibit binge drinking which therefore concludes the study that Symbolic Interactionism has influence over Binge Drinking.