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Policing MoralsThe Metropolitan Police and the Home Office 1870–1914$
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Stefan Petrow

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198201656

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198201656.001.0001

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The Drinkers

The Drinkers

(p.213) 8 The Drinkers
Policing Morals

Stefan Petrow

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses opposing notions on drunkenness and the individual drunkard. Among social reformers, drunkenness was believed to caused insanity, disease, pauperism, and crime. Drunkenness according to them was immoral as it robbed the person of character, religious convictions, and the ability to work. These views towards drinking were met by hostile opinions from the working class as they asked for exemption of the individual drunkard from culpability, because they believed that social disorder stemmed from the economical and social system. They also opined that there existed no direct correlation between crime and drunkenness. The chapter also seeks to define the difference between the drunkard and the habitual drunkards as well as the different laws and measures directed towards these two forms of drunkenness. The chapter also tackles different stigmas and stereotypes harboured by social reformists. The stereotyping made the police careful in detaining drunkards and they acted as bulwarks that defended drunkards from the machinations of the reformists, doctors, and the state.

Keywords:   drunkenness, individual drunkard, drinking, habitual drunkards, laws, measures

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