Skip to content

Sober rebels or good consumer-citizens? Anti-consumption and the ‘enterprising self’ in early sobriety

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Former drinkers in the UK are required to negotiate sobriety in a society that positions consumption (of alcohol but also more widely) as an important part of identity formation. A refusal to consume risks positioning the self outside of the established neoliberal order, particularly as traditional models of sobriety and ‘recovery’ position the non-drinker as diseased or flawed. As drinking rates decline across Western contexts and new movements celebrating sobriety as a positive ‘lifestyle choice’ proliferate, this paper will highlight ways in which sober women rework elements of traditional recovery models in order to construct an ‘enterprising self’ who remains a good consumer-citizen despite – or indeed because of – their refusal to drink. In doing so, this paper enhances our understandings of the ways in which neoliberal notions of a successful, enterprising self can be incorporated into (re)constructions of the self and identity by ‘anti-consumers’ more widely.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 18 Nov 2020


  • Nicholls_Sociology_post_print

    Rights statement: The embargo end date of 2050 is a temporary measure until we know the publication date. Once we know the publication date the full text of this article will be able to view shortly afterwards.

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 301 KB, PDF document

    Due to publisher’s copyright restrictions, this document is not freely available to download from this website until: 1/01/50

Related information

Relations Get citation (various referencing formats)

ID: 23507050