Project Information: Alcohol Frontiers

Understanding the role of alcohol in post-war transitions

Countries emerging from armed conflict have higher rates of alcohol abuse as a result of trauma, mental health problems, unemployment, and poor government regulation. These issues are particularly acute in sub-national regions affected directly by conflict. As well as undermining public health, rising alcohol consumption also risks acting as a barrier to development and peacebuilding.

Although a small number of national-level and cross-country studies have highlighted the risks associated with rising alcohol consumption in post-war contexts, little is known about the specific impacts on sub-national regions directly affected by conflict, or the consequences of rising alcohol consumption for populations living in these areas.

In both Nepal and Sri Lanka, alcohol was heavily restricted in areas under rebel control during the respective armed conflicts, and these areas have seen a post-war growth in the sale and consumption of alcohol. Both countries have recently passed new legislation to limit the consumption and sale of alcoholic beverages. Whilst international development agencies have sought to improve alcohol policy in Nepal and Sri Lanka, these efforts have neglected the important ways in which policymaking in this area is deeply shaped by wider politics, moral discourses and economic interests.

This project will develop understanding about how and why alcohol consumption and regulation has varied between conflict-affected and non-conflict affected regions in Nepal and Sri Lanka and the consequences for populations living in these areas. It will also explore how efforts to regulate alcohol in Nepal and Sri Lanka have been shaped by (a) wider political and moral discourses and (b) the interests of multinational corporations, and business/political elites.