Temperance and the Social Construction of Risk
DOI link for Temperance and the Social Construction of Risk
Temperance and the Social Construction of Risk book
This chapter explores the issue through discussion of the social constructionist perspective in sociology, using two examples: the automobile and masturbation. It proposes that temperance as an ideology and strategy appeals to political and corporate elites, and, at times, to large sectors of the public as well. The chapter suggests ongoing dynamic between temperance strategies and movements and the forces that tend to resist them through the use of a historical sociological method. Two theoretical constructs that can be seen as partial remedies to the limitations of social constructionism are "medicalization" and "moral panics." Although these constructs have different origins, they both represent attempts to conceptualize the social treatment of "deviance" and help move us beyond the case study approach. The origins of temperance in bourgeois ideology and as a power strategy do not contradict the popularity of temperance movements among sectors of the public at certain historical points.