chapter  1
25 Pages

The Pub

ItmayseemsomewhatinsultingtobeginourreadingofAustralia inthepub.ButAustraliansarebothproudandashamedoftheir enthusiasmforalcohol.TheAustralianimagehashadanalcohol problemfromtheearliestdaysofthecolony,andpubshaveinterestedtheanalystsofAustraliancultureforalmostaslong.On theonehand,theyhaveproposedanexus(bondorlink)between oneimageofAustralianmasculinityandthehugeconsumptionof beer,stillregardingthepubasthebeer-stainedsiteofthenotorious 'sixo'clockswill'.Ontheotherhand,populistsdefendthepubas thelocationoftheauthenticAustralianvaluesofmateshipand egalitarianism.ForCraigMcGregor,'drinkingprovidesthefocusof muchAustralianlife...thepubhaspartlyreplacedthedancehall asaconvivialgatheringplaceformenandwomen'.Heseesdrinkingas'adeterminedlyegalitarianactivity,thegreatsociallevellerexceptforaTestCricketcrowdthereisnomoreclasslessplacein Australiathanahotelbar.'[p.136]This(fromProfileofAustralia) waswrittenin1967.McGregorwouldwanttomodifythijudgmentnow,partlybecausetherehavebeensignificantchangesin pubcultureanddrinkingcustomsintheinterveningtwodecades. Thosechangesandtheirunderlyingstructuresofmeaningprovide insightintoimportantlevelsofAustraliansociety.