Media and Intoxication: Media Representations of the Intoxicated

Ayres, Tammy and Taylor, Stuart (2020). Media and Intoxication: Media Representations of the Intoxicated. In: Hutton, Fiona ed. Cultures of Intoxication: Key Issues and Debates. Cham: Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 239–261.



This chapter examines media representations of intoxication in the context of neoliberal consumer capitalism. It illustrates how the media ideologically function in maintaining the capitalist status quo whilst distracting attention from the paradoxical nature and embedded systemic harms of consumerism. Looking at the media through a Žižekian lens, we identify how the intoxicated are constructed as representing a threat to our way of life through their irresponsible, flawed and uncivilised consumption practices. As such, the media partakes in objective violence through its purposeful polarisation of intoxication practices: ensuring the condemnation, alienation and criminalisation of the barbaric consumer; and the celebration and social recognition of the civilised.

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