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“Wartime Hysterics”?: Alcohol, Women And The Politics Of Wartime Social Purity In England

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Chapter Summary

In exploring the manifold constructions of female liquor consumption, this chapter contributes to the historiographical debates over the impact of the war on women?s lives. It describes the ways in which women?s social positions both advanced and regressed during the war, and illuminates the multiple and often contradictory discourses relating to female alcohol consumption, and its purported social significance. The chapter starts with an examination of the state?s general wartime controls. There follows an exposition of the multiple critiques of women?s wartime drinking, voiced by temperance reformers and social purity campaigners among others. The chapter then looks at the government?s investigations into allegations of increasing female inebriation. Despite the Central Control Board?s (CCB?s) stringency, many anti-drink campaigners and social reformers were unsatisfied. The British Women?s Temperance Association (BWTA) remained intransigent, arguing that prohibition was the only sure means of checking the devastating impact of alcohol.

Keywords: British Women?s Temperance Association (BWTA); Central Control Board (CCB); female inebriation; female liquor consumption; wartime social purity; women?s social positions; women?s wartime drinking



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