Sober Lifeway: Motives, Roles and Practices

Sober Lifeway: Motives, Roles and Practices

Belova Yu.Yu.

Cand. Sci. (Soc.), Leading Research Fellow, National Research University “Higher School of Economics”, Moscow, Russia

ID of the Article:

This article is implemented as part of the Basic Research Program at the HSE University.

For citation:

Belova Yu.Yu. Sober Lifeway: Motives, Roles and Practices. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2023. No 1. P. 82-94


In the article, following elements of a sober way of life are revealed on the basis of in-depth biographic interviews with nondrinkers: conditions, motives, social roles, and social practices of nondrinkers. Types of nondrinkers are fixed by criterion of habitus (“natural“, «former “culturally drinking»“, “former alcohol-addicted“). It is shown that objective conditions and subjective opportunities of formation/choice of a sober lifeway differ depending on a habitus and vital events. Using P. Bourdieu’s concept of capitals it is found that motives of the choice and maintaining a sober lifeway differ by criterion of orientation on the capitals (“preservation“, “increasing“, “completion“); motives of the choice and maintaining a sober lifeway are connected both to the personal capitals (“egocentrism“), and the public capitals (“soсiocentrism“). V.I. Ilyin’s concept of the sociocultural field, E. Goffman’s dramaturgic approach and concepts of social identity and frames allowed to ascertain what social roles are played by nondrinkers in situations of alcohol consumption on the brink of sociocultural field (“active“, “rational“, “passive“, “conformal“, “protest“). It is concluded that these social roles reflect behavior practices of nondrinkers (“active intervention“, “rational behavior“, “a passive co-presence“, “conformal behavior“, “protest behavior“).

Sober lifeway; nondrinkers; sobriety; refusal from alcohol; alcohol consumption; deep interview; biographic interview
Content No 1, 2023