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Getting Wasted: Why College Students Drink Too Much and Party So Hardby Thomas Vander Ven
Synopses & Reviews
Most American college campuses are home to a vibrant drinking scene where students frequently get wasted, train-wrecked, obliterated, hammered, destroyed, and decimated. The terms that university students most commonly use to describe severe alcohol intoxication share a common theme: destruction, and even after repeated embarrassing, physically unpleasant, and even violent drinking episodes, students continue to go out drinking together. In Getting Wasted, Thomas Vander Ven provides a unique answer to the perennial question of why college students drink.
Vander Ven argues that college students rely on “drunk support:” contrary to most accounts of alcohol abuse as being a solitary problem of one person drinking to excess, the college drinking scene is very much a social one where students support one another through nights of drinking games, rituals and rites of passage. Drawing on over 400 student accounts, 25 intensive interviews, and one hundred hours of field research, Vander Ven sheds light on the extremely social nature of college drinking. Giving voice to college drinkers as they speak in graphic and revealing terms about the complexity of the drinking scene, Vander Ven argues that college students continue to drink heavily, even after experiencing repeated bad experiences, because of the social support that they give to one another and due to the creative ways in which they reframe and recast violent, embarrassing, and regretful drunken behaviors. Provocatively, Getting Wasted shows that college itself, closed and seemingly secure, encourages these drinking patterns and is one more example of the dark side of campus life.
Book News Annotation:
Vander Ven (sociology and anthropology, Ohio U.) conducts a sociological investigation of alcohol use on university campuses through analysis of a qualtitative survey of 469 drinking stories, a couple dozen intensive interviews, and field research at bars and parties. The analysis focuses on the collective strategies, rituals, and motivations of alcohol consumption and their impact on the self and social relations. Vander Ven pays attention to the ways in which drinkers find pleasure in drinking and associated behaviors, an issue he finds to be neglected in the literature, as well as to more commonly discussed negative impacts and how they are responded to socially. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Stephen Jay Gould was not only a leading paleontologist and evolutionary theorist, he was also a humanist with an enduring interest in the history and philosophy of science. The extraordinary range of Goulds work was underpinned by a richly nuanced and deeply insightful worldview.
Richard York and Brett Clark engage Goulds science and humanism to illustrate and develop the intellectual power of Goulds worldview, particularly with regard to the philosophy of science. They demonstrate how the Gouldian perspective sheds light on many of the key debates occurring not only in the natural sciences, but in the social sciences as well. They engage the themes that unified Goulds work and drove his inquires throughout his intellectual career, such as the nature of history, both natural and social, particularly the profound importance of contingency and the uneven tempo of change. They also assess Goulds views on structuralism, highlighting the importance of the dialectical interaction of structural forces with everyday demands for function, and his views on the hierarchical ordering of causal forces, with some forces operating at large scales and/or over long spans of time, while others are operating on small scales and/or occur frequently or rapidly.
York and Clark also address Goulds application of these principals to understanding humanity's place in nature, including discussions of human evolution, sociobiology, and the role of art in human life. Taken together, this book illuminates Goulds dynamic understanding of the world and his celebration of both science and humanism.
About the Author
Thomas Vander Ven is associate professor in the department of sociology and anthropology at Ohio University and author of Working Mothers and Juvenile Delinquency.
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