Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

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Henry Yeomans' Publications


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

  • 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.

Journal articles

  • Yeomans HP, ‘Teaching and Learning in Crime and Criminal Justice History: An Overview’, Law, Crime and History, 4.1 (2014), 1-14
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/85330/

  • Yeomans HP, ‘Blurred Visions: Experts, Evidence and the Promotion of Moderate Drinking’, The Sociological Review 2013
    DOI: 10.1111/1467-954X.12100

    Public discourse and public policy relating to alcohol tend to concentrate on the social problem of ‘excessive’ drinking. Rather than concentrating on forms of ‘excess’, this paper investigates its counter-point, moderation, which, in regards to alcohol consumption, is a poorly understood concept. Official definitions of moderate drinking vary considerably between different countries and change across time. These fluid definitions are often connected to political or moral values, including temperance in the nineteenth century and personal responsibility today. This situation is complicated by the blurry nature of scientific evidence on the relationship between alcohol consumption and various forms of harm. There is an absence of compelling evidence about what amount or form of drinking can be considered responsible, safe or engendering an acceptable level of risk. In current understandings, risk cannot be precisely calculated or expressed on an individual basis and, hence, scientific discourse offers little certainty. Concentrating on the interpretation of evidence and the role of expertise, this chapter examines how experts and policy-makers arrive, nonetheless, at definitions of moderate drinking as well as policies which seek to promote them. It is argued that this process circumvents rather than confronts uncertainty and hence is damaging to both scientific validity and governmental credibility.

  • 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, ‘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, ‘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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