This book uses Nottingham, a city in the East Midlands of England, as a case study to examine changing attitudes and responses to drinking and alcohol problems in the UK from the 1950s to early 2000s. Based on original research drawn from local archives and oral histories, it examines responses to drink and drink problems over time.
In the 1950s pub going and drinking were viewed by city inhabitants as essential activities. For the majority of people, drinking and occasional drunkenness were accepted and tolerated aspects of everyday life. However in the 1950s, the idea of the alcoholic, a medical as well as moral phenomenon, surfaced in society. The book describes how this view became associated locally with poverty, and viewed in the extreme terms as a problem of the vagrant alcoholic. In subsequent decades, street drinkers continued to inform the local approach and went through a number of transformations; from the hooligan/ drunken football fan of the 1980s to the young binge drinker of the late 1990s/early 2000s.
In the early 2000s Nottingham became a national flashpoint over binge drinking at a time when alcohol licensing reform was being debated in Parliament and for the first time, the local definition and national one properly combined. This book thus suggests local definitions are important, and should be taken account of in the process of policymaking.