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English Issue > 2006

An Annual English Selection - 2006 - 47 - Supplement

Drinking and Alcoholism at Work : Ethnography of a French Mail Sorting Center

Pierre MERLE Bertrand LE BEAU

 

 

pp. 65-97

 

This study, based on on-site observation and interviews with mail handlers and managers employed by the French postal service La Poste, was conducted to improve knowledge of the alcohol consumption and alcoholism-related practices specific to this occupational milieu. Neither of these sets of practices can be studied in isolation from mail handler socializing and practices of mutual support in the workplace, or from the social oversight practices that regulate routine production activity ; specifically, the requirement that managers report “intemperate mail workers”. Analysis of the interdependence between routine work and alcohol consumption practices sheds light on why managers often show a passive attitude despite regulations requiring them to report “alcoholic” mail handlers.

 

 

 
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