The paper analyses the self-presentations of three convicted drunk drivers: two women and one man. It applies symbolic interaction theory to analyze how the interviewees account of themselves and their driving under the influence (DUI) convictions. The analysis shows how uncontrolled and unpredictable features of the data generating process impacts on the interviewees’ self-presentations. One interviewee, a 28-year-old man, uses his dog and tattoos to close-in on his problem with alcohol consumption. Another interviewee, a 61-year-old woman, uses legitimate cultural scripts of being a responsible woman to neutralize the fact that she has been drunk driving frequently for many years. The third interviewee, a 40-year-old woman, refuses to conceive herself as a drunk driver. Rather than taking responsibility for her DUI-conviction, she tries to relieve herself in the interview by blaming her DUI on her social surroundings. The paper demonstrates how qualitative interviews are sometimes unpredictable and dependent on diverse feelings and reactions and how drunk drivers, generally conceived as moral offenders, need intelligible, normative social positions to relate to their DUI.


Qualitative Interviewing, Drunk Driving, Accounting, Social Deviance

Author Bio(s)

Lars Fynbo is researcher at VIVE – The Danish Center for Social Science Research. He mainly focuses on qualitative research in the alcohol and other drugs area often from a contemporary risk perspective. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: lafy@vive.dk.


Lars would like to acknowledge the support of the Danish Tryg Foundation and Department of Sociology, University of Copenhagen.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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