This article examines two industry sectors - those making and selling fast food and alcoholic beverages or associated products. We examine their role in influencing policy and decision making on the regulation of their products for health reasons. We argue that the food and alcohol industries engage in a very wide range of tactics and strategies to defend and indeed to promote their 'licence to operate'. We focus in on a specific component of these by examining public relations and lobbying strategies and their impacts on elite decision makers. We suggest that lobbying influence is a matter of both communication and action. We go on to outline the vertical and horizontal differentiation of lobbying strategies arguing that policy capture is the ultimate goal of lobbying, though influence is pursued by wide-ranging strategies to capture various arenas of decision making. We examine four key arenas; science, civil society, the media and policy, closing with an examination of two cases of the so-called 'partnership' model of governance.

BACKGROUND: Some years ago Australian anthropologist David Moore criticised the predominant form of understanding youth alcohol consumption for residing with biomedical approaches that individualise and ultimately stigmatise drinking behaviour and 'ignore' the social context of consumption. Of interest here is the ongoing insufficient integration of alternative approaches to understanding young people's drinking.

METHODS: This paper presents theoretically informed qualitative research that investigates why young Australian females (aged 14-17) drink and how social and cultural context form the basis, rather than the periphery, of their drinking experience.

RESULTS: We demonstrate the utility of Pierre Bourdieu's sociological framework for delving beyond the dichotomy of young people's drinking decisions as either a determination of their cultural environment or the singular result of a rational individual's independent decision-making. The paper is presented in two parts. First, we provide the interpretation, or 'practise', of Bourdieu's concepts through an outline and application of his complex theoretical constructs. Specifically, the concept of symbolic capital (or social power) is applied. Second, our explication of Bourdieu's 'practice', or epistemological contributions, offers a methodologically grounded example to other researchers seeking to attain more complete understandings of the social processes underpinning youth alcohol consumption.

CONCLUSION: A sociological approach to exploring the complex relationship between drinking and contextual social factors amongst young Australian females is an unchartered area of enquiry. We contribute new theoretically supported insights to create a more complete picture of young females' drinking behaviours.

Background: Fundamental to supporting hazardous alcohol users are the rationales for reducing alcohol intake highlighted by the users themselves. This study analyses the relative importance of beliefs about pros and cons of drinking in relation to having an intention to reduce intake among both hazardous and moderate alcohol users.

Methods: Intention to change was assessed in a representative sample of Stockholm's population (n = 4278, response rate 56.5%). Alcohol use was assessed using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test measure. A decisional balance inventory was used to examine various beliefs about the pros and cons of drinking, which covered affect changes, social gains and losses, and possible adverse effects. Independent correlations were determined by logistic regression using a backward exclusion procedure (P > 0.05).

Results: Higher ratings of importance were generally related to intent, whether or not the contrast was with having no intent or already having made a reduction. This was especially true for hazardous users. Only two beliefs were independently correlated with change among hazardous users: 'Drinking could get me addicted' and 'Drinking makes me more relaxed/less tense' (pseudo-R2 < 0.1). Among moderate users, there was no uniform pattern in the relationships.

Conclusions: Unexpectedly, hazardous users with an intent to change rated pro arguments as more important than those with no intent to change. Of the investigated pros and cons, only a few were independently related to intention to change drinking behaviour. These arguments provide interesting topics in consultations. Little support was found for any rational decision making behind the intention to reduce alcohol intake.

Page 3 of 3

Disclaimer

The authors have taken reasonable care in ensuring the accuracy of the information herein at the time of publication and are not responsible for any errors or omissions. Read more on our disclaimer and Privacy Policy.