Analysing gender in research and policy on alcohol-related violence among young people

In recent years, the issue of ‘alcohol-fuelled violence’, particularly among young people, has generated intense policy debate in Australia. While this debate is warranted, its contours and outcomes have been informed by a relatively narrow range of research resources. In particular, although Australian quantitative research shows a disproportionate involvement of young men in alcohol-related violence, and qualitative research highlights the complexities of gender and power and the contribution of masculinities to such violence, these issues receive scant attention in the research recommendations typically informing contemporary policy debate and its outcomes.

This ARC-funded project addresses the urgent need for an analysis of the gender concepts operating in research and policy on alcohol and violence among young people and involves an international comparison of research and policy in Australia, Canada and Sweden. It consists of textual analysis of key alcohol policy strategies and research articles, as well as in-depth interviews with alcohol policy stakeholders and researchers, across the three countries.

The project builds on and extends research already conducted by the research team that identifies how unexamined concepts, such as gender, influence alcohol and other drug research and policy, and the social sciences. It aims to produce typologies of gender concepts that will act as a practical resource for re-examining the assumptions shaping responses to alcohol-related violence. The analysis will significantly advance understandings of research and policy in all three countries, and inform the development of more effective, credible and equitable responses to alcohol-related violence among young people in Australia.

As of February 2021, data collection has been completed in Australia, Canada and Sweden. Several peer-reviewed articles analysing the treatment of gender in Australian quantitative research and government policy on ‘alcohol-related violence’ have been published, as well as a book chapter on masculinities and intoxication (see publications below). The research team is preparing further research outputs by analysing in-depth interviews conducted with quantitative alcohol researchers and policy stakeholders in each country. Workshops reporting the project findings and their implications for understanding gender, alcohol and violence are planned for later in the year.

The project team

Chief investigators:

  • Prof David Moore, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University
  • Prof Helen Keane, School of Sociology, The Australian National University

Partner investigators:

Project staff:

  • Dr Duane Duncan, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University
  • Ms Emily Lenton, School of Sociology, The Australian National University

Publications

Duncan, D., Keane, H., Moore, D., Ekendahl, M., & Graham, K. (2020). Making gender along the way: Women, men and harm in Australian alcohol policy. Critical Policy Studies, doi: 10.1080/19460171.2020.1867598

Duncan, D., Moore, D., Keane, H., & Ekendahl, M. (2020). Obscuring gendered difference: The treatment of violence in Australian government alcohol policy. Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society, doi.org/10.1093/sp/jxaa038

Moore, D. (2020). Masculinities and intoxication: Notes towards a co-constitutive approach. In F. Hutton (ed.), Cultures of intoxication: Key issues and debates. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 211-235.

Moore, D., Duncan, D., Keane, H. & Ekendahl, M. (2020). Displacements of gender: Research on alcohol, violence and the night-time economy. Journal of Sociology, doi.org/10.1177/1440783320970639

Moore, D., Keane, H. & Duncan, D. (2020). Enacting alcohol realities: Gendering practices in Australian studies on ‘alcohol-related presentations’ to emergency departments. Sociology of Health and Illness, 42, 3-19.