Getting Wasted

Getting Wasted

by Thomas Vander Ven


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814788318
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 08/01/2011
Pages: 229
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

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.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Acknowledgments xi

1 This Is the Shit Show! An Introduction to College Drinking 1

2 Getting Wasted: The Intoxication Process 20

3 Being Wasted: Fun, Adventure, and Transformation in the World of College Drinking 50

4 When Everything Falls Apart: Meeting the Challenges of the College Drinking Scene 79

5 The Morning After: Hangovers and Regrets 120

6 Using Drunk Support: Responding to the Persistence of Heavy Drinking 153

Methodological Appendix 183

Notes 191

Bibliography 199

Index 207

About the Author 215

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

The book is worth a read to get students' perspectives on the binge-drinking culture, and provoke thought on how to address the problems that stem from it."-Teresa Malcolm,National Catholic Reporter

"[Thomas Vander Van's] book is an imoprtant contribution to understanding this social problem."-Society,

"Vander Ven...leads the reader through a well-researched and comprehensive overview of college drinking...I would urge anyone preparing for college, or preparing another for college, to read this book."-John S. Wodarski,Contemporary Psychology

"The book offers a realistic portrayal of socially bonding drinking behaviors and attitudes. Vander Ven suggests stellar ways campuses can reduce the harm of excessive drinking."-Library Journal,

Getting Wasted weaves many detailed stories of college drunkenness into a compelling account of its communal nature. Students don’t drink alone or get drunk alone. They do it together and the togetherness helps explain their otherwise baffling, self-destructive activities. This book is must reading for anyone interested in college students, drinking, and the combination of the two.” -Howard Becker,author of Outsiders: Studies In The Sociology Of Deviance

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