Attitudes are one of the most commonly researched topics in social psychology, and attitudes toward alcoholics have been a popular interest area. The present study investigated such attitudes from within a social constructionist paradigm. Participants were interviewed about their views toward alcoholics and the transcribed recordings were analysed discursively to examine common constructions and evaluative practices. Three central discourses are discussed: a functional drinking discourse, where drinking was cast as normal social practice for functional drinkers; a dysfunctional people discourse, where alcoholics were formulated as qualitatively different from other drinkers; and a discourse of two dichotomous categories, in which alcoholics were concurrently constructed in terms of their heterogeneity. These discourses are discussed in terms of their construction and the tasks they performed, which include justifying intolerance and emphasising social differences. Particular attention is paid to how these practices were presented as 'fact' through the process of discursive construction.
New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 2010, 39 (3), pp. 46 - 55