Sociology Professor to Discuss Link Between Alcohol and Violence

Robert Nash Parker says limiting alcohol sales reduces crime

Robert Nash Parker

Professor Robert Parker will present a lecture titled “A Harm Reduction Approach to Preventing Alcohol Related Injuries: The Case of Violence and Alcohol Regulatory Strategies”

Sociology professor Robert Nash Parker will discuss his research documenting the role alcohol plays in violence in a University Honors/Phi Beta Kappa lecture on Jan. 22 at 5 p.m. in HUB 355. Copies of his book, “Alcohol and Violence: The Nature of the Relationship and the Promise of Prevention” (2012, Lexington Books), will be available for sale after the lecture, and Parker will be available to sign them.

Reservations are requested by Jan. 17 at

The lecture topic, “The Elephant in the Room: Evidence of the significant role that alcohol plays in violence and how we can reduce homicide, robbery and assault in our communities,” draws from decades of Parker’s research. In his book, the sociologist says that amending existing laws or adopting additional regulations to limit the availability of alcohol — a practice known as environmental prevention — would reduce community violence.

Alcohol plays a powerful role in U.S. social and cultural life, and has since colonial times, Parker says, despite decades of research documenting that it is more dangerous and physically destructive than heroin and cocaine, and is a significant factor in violent crime. Changing the physical environment in which alcohol is acquired and consumed — such as limiting the number of liquor stores in a neighborhood, banning the sale of 40-ounce containers of beer, or banning the sale of alcohol entirely — has been proven to reduce violent crime, he says.

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