A collaborative King's College London and UCT research project

Research design

The research project has multiple levels of research:

1. Scoping:

Review of the inter-disciplinary (public health, global health, development, sociology, anthropology, geography, medicine,  psychiatry) literature on the field of alcohol control, development and poverty.

For a collated reading list please click here: Some alcohol and development references

2. Mapping the policy setting(s):

What are the pertinent policies across a range of geographical scales? These take in the global (i.e. WHO’s Global Strategy to Prevent the Harmful Use of Alcohol), the national (i.e. South Africa’s National Liquor Act), the regional (i.e. the Western Cape Liquor Bill) and the municipal (i.e. Cape Town’s city by-laws).

WHO Global strategy to reduce harmful use of alcohol

SA Drug masterplan

Western Cape Liquor Bill

Cape Town Policy Position on Alcohol and Drugs 2011-2014

Alcohol information SA

3.  Ascertaining the primary and associated stakeholders:

Who governs alcohol in the Western Cape and in Cape Town? How are the primary governmental and non-governmental actors? How do they interrelate? Who holds influence, how and why? What elements of governance do they control? How do they frame, understand and opertionalise alcohol?

These questions were explored through 30 semi-structured interviews.

4. Understanding the ‘lived experiences’ of alcohol:

a) Through a series of focus groups, divided by age and gender at each of the three case study sites: Phillipi; Salt River and Freedom Park. The focus groups explored the ways in which drinking and drinking places affect residents, why people drink and how they drink. It also questioned participants about how they thought alcohol could be better regulated and by whom.

b) Through interviews with shebeen owners in Philippi.

c) Particatory research and informal interviews with shebeen patrons in Salt River

d) Smaller-scale research on the role played by alcohol in men’s experiences of homelessness in one shelter in Cape Town

e) Ethnographic research aboard the transport system in the Cape Flats.  Click here for more information.


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