Conventional explanations of drinking behavior and alcoholism suffer from serious inadequacies, due in large part to their unquestioning acceptance of certain assumptions about the effects of alcohol on human behavior that are rooted in moral prescriptions. That is, most contemporary models of drinking behavior assume that the consumption of alcohol leads to the loss of inhibitions or self-control, ultimately leading to behaviors that are not predictable by either the drinker or society. This perspective has become so deeply ingrained in the social scientific literature that it is no longer even perceived as hypothetical; instead, it has taken on the character of unqualified "scientific fact." Yet it has become more and more difficult to reconcile this conventional wisdom with the empirical literature on drinking. As a result, the development of an adequate model of drinking behavior (including both normal and pathological drinking) may have been inhibited by this uncritical acceptance of a scientific ideology.

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