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Henry Yeomans' Publications


  • Yeomans H, Alcohol and Moral Regulation Public Attitudes, Spirited Measures and Victorian Hangovers (Policy Press, 2014)

    Drawing on extensive historical research, the volume puts contemporary attitudes in context, and thus gives scholars and policy makers alike a more nuanced way to approach analyses of, and approaches to, contemporary drinking.

  • Yeomans HP, Alcohol and Moral Regulation: Public Attitudes, Spirited Measures and Victorian Hangovers (Bristol: Policy Press, 2014)

Journal articles

  • Yeomans H, ‘Taxation, State Formation and Governmentality: The Historical Development of Alcohol Excise Duties in England and Wales’, Social Science History, 42.2 (2018), 269-293
    DOI: 10.1017/ssh.2017.47, Repository URL:

    The use of excise taxation in contemporary Western societies is marked by the curious co-existence of the state’s inherent fiscal objective of raising revenue with often-articulated behavioural objectives relating to lowering or altering public consumption of certain commodities. This paper uses findings from the first dedicated empirical study of the long-term development of various alcohol excise duties in England and Wales to investigate how and why this contemporary situation, of distinct and potentially inconsistent rationalities, came to exist. Orthodox tax history tends to emphasise the importance of tax for state formation generally and/or the more specific establishment of a fiscal-military state in Britain. While important, such accounts relate principally to the fiscal dimensions of taxation and say little about any behavioural aspects. This paper draws upon the original analysis of archival government sources from 1643 to 1914 that pertain to the excise taxation of various drinks that are today defined as alcoholic. It also involves the innovative application of the Foucauldian concept of governmentality to this history of taxation. The article demonstrates that the historical development of alcohol excise duties in England and Wales has been driven, not just by the formation of a fiscal-military state, but also by the emergence of governmentality across the modern period. This original insight into tax history is used to explain the logical inconsistencies within current tax laws. Moreover, by providing the first sustained analysis of its links to taxation, the article advances the developing literature around governmentality within criminology, sociology and sociolegal studies.

  • Yeomans H, ‘Regulating Drinking through Alcohol Taxation and Minimum Unit Pricing: A Historical Perspective on Alcohol Pricing Interventions’, Regulation and Governance 2016
    DOI: 10.1111/rego.12149, Repository URL:

    Discourse on alcohol policy in several countries has recently become dominated by discussions of pricing. In Britain, proposals for a minimum unit price for alcoholic drinks are frequently depicted as radical and new. However, other means of legally intervening in alcohol pricing have long been used to shape consumption habits. Key to recognizing this historical lineage is a conceptualization of taxation as partly a form of regulation. This article builds upon findings from a wider historical study of alcohol excise duties in England and Wales to develop an empirically-based typology of the main forms of government interventions in alcohol pricing. By connecting some instances of alcohol excise taxation to government attempts to shape behavior, this typology enables advances in understanding of the relationship between taxation and regulation. In so doing, the article also provides an original historical perspective on an ongoing policy debate.

  • Monaghan M, Yeomans H, ‘Mixing drink and drugs: ‘Underclass’ politics, the recovery agenda and the partial convergence of English alcohol and drugs policy’, International Journal of Drug Policy, 37 (2016), 122-128
    DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2016.02.005, Repository URL:

    © 2016 Elsevier B.V. Alcohol policy and illicit drugs policy are typically presented as separate and different in academic discussion. This is understandable, to a degree, as the criminal law upholds a ‘great regulatory divide’ (Seddon, 2010: 56) separating the licit trade in alcohol from the illicit trade in substances classified as either class A, B or C under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. This paper takes a different stance. In doing so, it draws upon Berridge's (2013) argument that policies governing various psychoactive substances have been converging since the mid-twentieth century and seeks to elaborate it using recent developments relating to the control and regulation of drugs and alcohol in the broader areas of criminal justice and welfare reform. Significantly, the article examines how recent policy directions relating to both drugs and alcohol in England have, under the aegis of the ‘recovery agenda’, been connected to a broader behavioural politics oriented towards the actions and lifestyles of an apparently problematic subgroup of the population or ‘underclass’. The paper thus concludes that, although the great regulatory divide remains intact, an underclass politics is contributing towards the greater alignment of illicit drugs and alcohol policies, especially in regards to the respective significance of abstinence (or abstinence-based ‘recovery’).

  • Yeomans HP, ‘Teaching and Learning in Crime and Criminal Justice History: An Overview’, Law, Crime and History, 4.1 (2014), 1-14
    Repository URL:

  • Yeomans H, ‘Blurred visions: experts, evidence and the promotion of moderate drinking’, SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW, 61 (2013), 58-78
    DOI: 10.1111/1467-954X.12100

    Author URL []

  • Yeomans H, ‘Theorising Alcohol in Public Discourse: Moral Panics or Moral Regulation?’, SSRN Electronic Journal 2013
    DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.2598406

  • Yeomans H, ‘What Did the British Temperance Movement Accomplish? Attitudes to Alcohol, the Law and Moral Regulation’, SOCIOLOGY-THE JOURNAL OF THE BRITISH SOCIOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION, 45.1 (2011), 38-53
    DOI: 10.1177/0038038510387189

    Author URL []

  • Yeomans HP, ‘What did the British Temperance Movement Accomplish? Attitudes to Alcohol, the Law and Moral Regulation’, Sociology, 44.1 (2011), 38-53

    Academics studying the British temperance movement tend to regard it as having had little effect. This article reframes the question of impact by drawing on the separation, inherent in moral regulation theory, of the law’s simple legal functions from its broader moral functions. This concentration on the discursive and persuasive faculties of the law allows an investigation of the subtler effects of different parts of the social movement. The methodology entails a longitudinal examination of developments in statutory law as well as an analysis of public discourse on alcohol in the Victorian and contemporary eras. The article concludes that particular strands of the British temperance movement had a significant, lasting impact on the legal, heuristic and moral frameworks which continue to surround drink.

  • Yeomans HP, ‘Providentialism, the Pledge and Victorian Hangovers: Investigating Moderate Alcohol Policy in Britain, 1914-1918’, Law, Crime and History, 1.1 (2011), 95-107

  • Yeomans HP, ‘Revisiting a Moral Panic: Ascetic Protestantism, Attitudes to Alcohol and the Implementation of the Licensing Act 2003’, Sociological Research Online, 14.2 (2009)

    This paper examines the popular reaction to the implementation of licensing reforms in England and Wales in 2005. It characterises these events as an episode of moral panic and seeks an ideological explanation for this alarmist response. Utilising historical perspectives, the paper draws particular attention to the formative importance of the Nineteenth Century in terms of constructing contemporary public attitudes towards alcohol. This paper draws on existing sociology and social history to highlight an international and chronological pattern which suggests a connection between Victorian temperance movements and ascetic brands of Protestantism. Through a consideration of Max Weber, E.P. Thompson and a variety of primary sources, an interpretive explanation for this pattern is provided. Legal evidence, showing the growth of alcohol regulation and the partial enforcement of temperance codes of behaviour, is then used to illustrate the survival and secularisation of temperance views from the Nineteenth Century onwards. An interpretive analysis of public discourse surrounding licensing reform in 2005 provides empirical support for this argument. Attitudes to alcohol exhibited during this episode were found to bear qualitative similarities to Calvinist-inspired temperance beliefs. The paper argues that ascetic Protestant attitudes to alcohol have achieved a wide currency and now occupy a hegemonic position within secular British society. The public reaction to the implementation of the Licensing Act 2003 is thus reinterpreted as a moral panic largely constructed by ascetic Protestant beliefs.


  • Yeomans HP, Critcher C, ‘The Demon Drink: Alcohol and Moral Regulation, Past and Present’, in The Routledge Handbook of Leisure Studies (Oxon: Routledge, 2013)

  • Yeomans HP, ‘Moral Panics or Moral Regulation? Theorising Alcohol in Public Discourse’, in Moral Panics in the Contemporary World, ed. by Critcher C and others (London: Bloomsbury, 2013)

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