In "Intoxicated Identities," Tim Mitchell provides a novel and well-grounded framework for understanding subjective drinking experiences from the Aztecs to the present day in areas as diverse as Chiapas, Chihuahua, Oaxaca, Mexico City, Texas and California. Power drinking plays a crucial role in Mexican religion, politics, fine arts and ritual spousal abuse. Mexico ranks number one in deaths from cirrhosis, and Mexican Americans are twice as likely to be arrested for drunken driving as blacks or whites. With methods and concepts derived from an extraordinary range of disciplines, Mitchell explains how Mexican culture reinforces heavy drinking. He analyzes supply (nationalistic marketing strategies) but emphasizes demand (psychocultural motivations unique to Mexico). He chronicles the joys and sorrows of a borrachera, or drinking binge, and explores this altered state of consciousness on its own terms, not from any temperance or anti-alcohol perspective.

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