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Why legislation alone won’t stop Brits behaving badly in Magaluf - Prof Beat Kümin

Beat Kümin is a Professor of Early Modern European History at the University of Warwick and co-founder of the "Drinking Studies Network". Responding to media reports about efforts to crackdown on British holidaymakers binge-drinking in Magaluf, he said:

"The attempt by to curb binge drinking at Magaluf continues a long line of similar clamp downs since the Middle Ages. Every so often, Europe has been gripped by moral panics about excess consumption, with the 16thC Reformation, 18thC Enlightenment and 19thC Temperance Movement providing the most prominent examples.

"In contrast to many of these episodes (where intervention reflected religious and paternalistic concerns of the authorities), these holiday resorts DO have serious problems, but historical experience suggest that the solution can never be found through legislation alone.

"Any formal measures or price regulations must be accompanied by peer pressure, i.e. informal social control by friends and drinking companions enforcing certain limits of behaviour.

"For centuries, this worked reasonably well, but the combination of modern mass holidays (which take people out of their regular networks), erosion of gender-specific norms (which used to censure female excess in particular) and super-cheap alcohol (serving the interests of global conglomerates as well as local retailers) make for an explosive mix which places like Magaluf find difficult to control."

Notes to Editors:

Prof Beat Kümin is available for interviews. We have in-house broadcasting facilities for TV and radio. We have an ISDN line for radio and a remote camera (Globelynx TV Ready Network) for television interviews.

Contact Lee Page, Communications Manager at The University of Warwick. Tel: +44 (0)2476 574 255. Mob: +44 (0)7920 531 221. Email:


Lee Page

Communications Manager, University of Warwick

Tel: +44 (0)2476 574 255

Mob: +44 (0)7920 531 221