Controlling “rivers of grog”: The challenge of alcohol problems in Australian Indigenous communities

Controlling “rivers of grog”: The challenge of alcohol problems in Australian Indigenous communities Journal Article

Contemporary Drug Problems

  • Author(s): D'Abbs, Peter
  • Published: 2010
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications Inc
  • Volume: 37
  • ISBN: 0091-4509

Abstract: In 2007, a report into the sexual abuse of children in Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, Australia, led to allegations that ?rivers of grog [alcohol]? were destroying these communities. It also precipitated a dramatic shift in Aboriginal policy by the Australian government, in which principles of self-determination were discarded in favor of top-down measures designed to restrict Aboriginal access to alcohol. While not disputing the gravity of current levels of alcohol-related harm in some Indigenous settings, this article challenges the assumption that ?rivers of grog? have swept away all capacities for local control, and argues that a more theoretically and empirically informed analysis of the nature, determinants, and outcomes of social control provides a basis for a more viable policy than the current so-called emergency response. The article traces the evolution of policies affecting Indigenous alcohol use, and of concerns expressed by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous commentators about problems in controlling drinking at a local level. It then examines sociological perspectives on social control. The article concludes by reviewing initiatives by Aboriginal organizations aimed at developing more effective local controls over alcohol.

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Suggested Citation
D'Abbs, Peter, 2010, Controlling “rivers of grog”: The challenge of alcohol problems in Australian Indigenous communities, Volume:37, Journal Article, viewed 10 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=15570.

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