I like to go out and have a good time: An ethnography of a group of young middle class urban Indian women participating in a new drinking culture

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (SciVal)
22 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Urban, middle-class Indians are a market demographic target of transnational alcohol companies seeking to exploit neoliberal-informed deregulation policies. Against this backdrop is an emerging drinking culture in Mumbai, in which women participate.

Method: An ethnography with a friendship group of five middle-class, heterosexually-identified women aged between 22-24 years living in Mumbai. Poststructuralist informed analysis was performed on data from market mapping and venue mapping activities, interviews and participant observations.

Results: A range of on and offline corporate marketing practices facilitated an understanding of drinking as a cool practice of freedom, individualism and equality. Participants’ echoed this sense making, but they also described their drinking as occurring in a wider context of gendered inequality and national identities that made them vulnerable to sexual harassment and being ‘against Indian culture’.

Conclusions: This paper is the first to examine how a group of women make sense of their participation in an emerging Indian drinking culture, the wider material and discursive contexts enabling this sense-making, and the consequences for who and how such women can be in the world. The study highlights important similarities between this emerging drinking culture and the culture of intoxication documented in countries with a drinking culture norm. It also highlights the potential impact of the deregulation of alcohol sales and new marketing policies on groups of Indian women; and shows the importance of taking an intersectional approach that considers the interplay of gendered and national identities when analysing the impact of alcohol marketing policies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Early online date19 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2019


  • women
  • alcohol
  • drinking cultures
  • India
  • neoliberalism
  • culture of intoxication
  • Women
  • Culture of intoxication
  • Alcohol
  • Drinking cultures
  • Neoliberalism
  • Alcohol Drinking/epidemiology
  • Friends
  • Humans
  • Urban Population
  • Young Adult
  • Anthropology, Cultural
  • Sexism
  • Female
  • Sexual Harassment/psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'I like to go out and have a good time: An ethnography of a group of young middle class urban Indian women participating in a new drinking culture'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this