Response to UK’s public drinking ban

Punk in Drublic

In the UK a ban that would prohibit drinking in public spaces is being protested by throwing a party in a public park.

It is fascinating that it is illegal to drink in most public spaces in the states, but simply putting a bag over your drink or a publicly sanctioned event makes it alright.

These quotes from this Guardian article made me think about Sennett’s book The Uses of Disorder and the Fall of Public Man.

The longer these bans are imposed, the more each of us refuse to take responsibility for public space, and stop resolving our own issues, leading to a more antisocial society. This is not a campaign for drunkenness, it’s for the public right to engage in our own space.

The police should be concerned with people breaking the law, not with these so-called preventative measures. Cultural issues are not solved with blanket bans, but by political and social engagement for which we need a vibrant public sphere.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Response to UK’s public drinking ban

  1. I’d read about the ban on drinking on the tube earlier this summer. One of the participants [a philosopher, no less] said, “I want to put the civil into civil disobedience. I feel the law was put in place to solve a social problem – antisocial behaviour – which is sometimes linked to drinking, but not always … If you tell people they can’t drink on the tube they’ll just drink before they get on. An arbitrary, tokenistic gesture.” That’s interesting to hear based on the US experience of no drinking on public transit [or brown-bagging]. It’s interesting to consider the idea of encouraging and expecting civil behavior, versus forbidding specific behaviors linked with problems.

    As a side note, scones were involved at the May protest/party…

  2. There was an amazing bit on HBO’s The Wire about the whole brown bag thing. Here’s the youtube clip.

  3. justforview

    Thanks, that is a great clip.

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