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‘Think before you tweet’: A Foucauldian Discourse Analysis of the constructions of female alcohol consumption on Twitter

Jones, Saskia (2014) ‘Think before you tweet’: A Foucauldian Discourse Analysis of the constructions of female alcohol consumption on Twitter. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This research explores the discourses surrounding female alcohol consumption on Twitter. Statistics have revealed that in recent years women are drinking similar amounts of alcohol to men (Office for National Statistics, 2013). Yet females are still discussed in negative terms regarding their drinking behaviours. Day et al. (2004) uncovered that women who consume alcohol are often considered to be compromising their femininity. Similarly, Griffin et al. (2012) highlight the contradictions faced by women who drink. The literature regarding female alcohol consumption tends to neglect social media websites, for this reason Twitter was deemed an interesting and novel source. Twitter has reportedly 232 million active users (Kemp, 2014), and can therefore be regarded as a popular form of modern communication. A total of 107 ‘tweets’ were collected by means of a key word search and analysed using a Foucauldian Discourse Analysis (FDA). The FDA revealed that Twitter users constructed female drinking behaviour in typically negative and detrimental terms; constructions included females who drink as undesirable, out of control and a causal factor for sexual assault. The ‘tweets’ employed patriarchal, generalising and blaming discourses, and as a result were found to create a problematising subjectivity for women.

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