Alcohol consumption studies in sub-Saharan Africa have largely focused on social control and regulatory mechanisms in specific settings without particular reference to how drinkers negotiate and navigate their drinking selves. Existing studies do not give enough attention to how consumers enact, make sense and experience drinking in light of state regulatory efforts. Using a constructivist grounded theory approach among twenty (20) beer drinkers, this study identifies how beer drinkers in Botswana experienced alcohol. Our findings demonstrate a theoretical category of Negotiating the Drinking Self where beer drinkers constructed and enacted a drinking self throughout the life-course, from the point of exposure at home through adolescence and up to maturity. The drinking self-constitutes an important part of the drinker’s identity and adapts to each stage of the life-course. Among the working poor in Botswana, beer drinking is complex, situated and embedded in webs of patterned social interactions.


Botswana, drinking self, beer consumption, grounded theory, meanings

Author Bio(s)

Tebogo B. Sebeelo is a Doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology, University of Miami, Florida, USA. His research interests are in the area of the alcohol and drug abuse, social policy, social problems, and the sociology of HIV Prior to undertaking graduate studies at the University of Miami he worked in various organizations in Botswana for a period spanning 12 years in the fields of HIV clinical trials research, HIV mainstreaming in higher education, and quality assurance of HIV programs. He is a native of Botswana. Please direct correspondence to tbs29@miami.edu.

Linda Liska Belgrave is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Miami. Her scholarly interests focus primarily on social psychology, medical sociology, and qualitative research methods. Her substantive work has included the meaning and experience of well-being among elders, daily lives of African American caregivers of loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease and political controversy in the classroom. She has used a number of qualitative approaches, including participant observation and auto-ethnography, though she has come to focus on constructivist grounded theory. Most recently, she has been engaged in work on grounded theory, the impact of neo-liberalism on social scientific research and theory, evolving Symbolic Interactionist theory, and the roles of able-bodied academics in research and teaching in disability studies. Please direct correspondence to l.belgrave@miami.edu.

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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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