Gift exchange, men and beer

Inexpensive beer is extremely adaptable because people can define it according to what they need or want. The beer is imbued with social mechanisms, engaging the honor and sense of fraternity of both giver and receiver. The giver does not merely give a beer but also part of himself.   The act of giving creates a social bond and it is expected that the exchange will someday be returned.  It often becomes the central element of creating solidarity amongst men.  And that also means exchange becomes a means by which men express and create a sense of masculinity.

Beer advertising frequently relies on images of powerful men (defined in Anglo imagery by possession of women), or men as adolescents. For working-class males, who have less access to more abstract forms of masculinity-validating power, beer becomes an extension of being a man. “Beer people” are more real and down-to-earth. Beer choice often has less to do with ethnicity or regionalism than it does economic status.

 

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