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AlcoholScience, Policy and Public Health$
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Peter Boyle, Paolo Boffetta, Albert B. Lowenfels, Harry Burns, Otis Brawley, Witold Zatonski, and Jürgen Rehm

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199655786

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199655786.001.0001

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Historical evolution of alcohol consumption in society

Historical evolution of alcohol consumption in society

Chapter:
(p.3) Chapter 1 Historical evolution of alcohol consumption in society
Source:
Alcohol
Author(s):

David J. Hanson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199655786.003.0001

This chapter traces the history of alcohol consumption from ancient times to the present. Alcoholic drinks have been produced and consumed by humans for thousands of years and have played an important role in religion; supplying nutrition and energy; providing medicinal, antiseptic, and analgesic benefits; quenching thirst; facilitating relaxation; promoting conviviality and social cohesion; increasing the pleasure of eating; providing pharmacological pleasure; and generally enhancing the quality and pleasures of life. The functions of alcoholic drinks in society have often been highly controversial and the subject of great debate. Illustrative of this was the establishment and later retraction of nationwide prohibitions of alcohol in many countries over the past century. Still today, there exists a conflict of views as to whether alcohol is an attractive elixir or a dangerous poison.

Keywords:   alcoholic drinks, alcohol use, prohibition, history

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