Cover image for A hair of the dog : Irish drinking and American stereotype
A hair of the dog : Irish drinking and American stereotype
Stivers, Richard.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
University Park ; London : Pennsylvania State University Press, [1977]
Physical Description:
10 unnumbered pages, 197 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Published in the United States: 1975.

Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV5449.I7 S74 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



The book is a sociohistorical and comparative study of an apparent discrepancy between an extremely high rate of alcoholism among Irish-Americans from the mid-19th century through the early 20th century and a more moderate, if not low, rate for the Irish in Ireland during the same period. The study attempts to situate Irish drinking patterns and temperance movements within the larger context of a historically changing Irish culture and social structure. Subsequently, the situation of the Irish-American as immigrant, his exposure to American society and culture, and his neighborhood settlement patterns are examined for their leads in understanding Irish-American drinking. Finally, the study includes description and interpretation of facts concerning drink and temperance among the Irish in modern Ireland and America. Dr. Stivers thus takes sharp issue with Daniel P. Moynihan's assertion in Beyond the Melting Pot that there is an "Irish Tendency to alcohol addiction." Instead, he builds on the 1944 study by R.F. Bales of Harvard which contrasted low alcoholism rates in Ireland with high rates among Irish-Americans.

Dr. Stivers posits two explanations: in Ireland, a "bachelor group ethic" (arising from relatively few and late marriages, religiously imposed chastity, and cultural segregation of the sexes); in the U.S., more severe disruption of social solidarity among Irish-Americans then among other immigrant groups, with consequent intensification of the bachelor group ethic.

In his introductory and concluding chapters Dr. Stivres emphasizes the implications of his findings not only for the sociological study of alcoholism but, more important, for the analysis of deviant behavior and its interaction with ethnic stereotypes.