Objectives: To analyze the stereotypes as well as the conceptual and methodological challenges in understanding the relationships among violence, alcohol, and gender.
Methodology: Historical, analytical, and interpretive.
Results:Violence, in Mexico as at the international level, appears to be recognized as a phenomenon of increasing incidence. Nevertheless, violence is not a recent phenomenon, and even less so the violence of everyday life and especially that developed in primary and micro-group relations, including crucially the relations of gender. Everyday forms of violence, as mentioned, appear associated with alcohol consumption more than any other factor.
The authors analyze the long history of violence and the structural causes that have lessened or reactivated violence in different historical eras. The majority of violent acts are not new; what is new is that they are considered violent. Consideration of certain behaviors as violent, or even that violent activities exist, depends in large part on the emergence of groups with different perspectives from the dominant ones with respect to these social acts. Therefore, in research, it is indispensable to define what is understood by violence and not to leave it assumed.
The authors suggest a focus where violence is analyzed in domestic relations through small groups and primary relations, but without ignoring that domestic groups express collective forms of structures and kinship relations that implicate the macro-social level. Micro-social analysis, the authors argue, makes possible an understanding of the macro-social dynamic-- not as a monolithic structure but as a dynamic process.
Macro-social conditions of violence express themselves through groups and subjects in relation to one another, and their responses are not always similar. Therefore, it is important to resolve whether the problem of the violence-alcohol relationship is constructed around the role of alcohol as part of the behaviors of gender and/or class, and an expression of identities and masculine attributes that find in alcohol a large part of the symbols of difference and identity, or alternatively it is understood that alcohol processes these characteristics in the dynamic of man-women through specific family situations. Relations of power or micro-power are established around alcohol between members of the domestic group, which implies not only physical violence in the relations between man and woman and between parents and children, but also processes of abandonment, rape, etc.
Conclusions:The articulation rather than the exclusion of the macro- and micro-social levels facilitates an understanding of this problem.
Copyright 2007 University of New Mexico