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Drinking and drunkenness have become a focal point for political and media debates to contest notions of responsibility, discipline and risk yet, at the same time, academic studies have highlighted the positive aspects of drinking in relation to sociability, belonging and identity. These issues are at the heart of this volume which brings together the work of academics and researchers exploring social and cultural aspects of contemporary drinking practices. These drinking practices are enormously varied and are spatially and culturally defined. The contributions to the volume draw on research settings from across the UK and beyond to demonstrate both the complexity and diversity of drinking subjectivities and practices. Across these examples tensions relating to gender, social class, age and the life course are particularly prominent. Rather than align to now long established moral discourses about what constitutes ‘good’ and ‘bad’ drinking, sociological approaches to alcohol foreground the vivid, lived, nature of alcohol consumption and the associated experiences of drunkenness and intoxication. In doing so, the volume illuminates the controversial yet important social and cultural roles played by drink for individuals and groups across a range of social contexts.