The Other Half
Wives of Alcholics and Their Social-Psychological Situation
This current study has emerged from two decades of the author's investigations in related areas: alcoholism and domestic relations. Its canvas is broadly comparative, drawing on interviews and data gathered in the United States and Finland. The domestic drama of The Other Half is played out both in the private scene of the home and the more public scene of the workplace, and against these two differing national backgrounds. Despite the many expected and perceived cultural differences between the countries, the effects of alcoholism on the family are shown to be the same.
Dr. Wiseman's study offers theoretical insights gleaned from its perspective on alcoholism as an interactive phenomenon,to which the concepts of G.H. Mead and Blumer can be applied to illuminate the carefully presented data and go beyond them. New terrain in studies of alcoholism is thereby explored, including such themes as the social construction by the subjects of their husbands' drinking, their marriage and their self-images; the strategy of coping mechanisms; and the effects of the crisis of alcoholism on gender, sex roles, and power differentials.
The Other Half complements Dr. Wiseman's prize-winning work on the treatment of Skid Row alcoholics, Stations of the Lost, while involving issues of greater complexity on both the methodological and theoretical plane.
“Wiseman studied wives of alcholics in the US and Finland, comparing the problems they face in defining their husbands as problem drinkers. She also investigated the approaches these wives used to get their husbands to curb excessive drinking, the search for successful treatment, and the effects of alcholic husbands on the women and their marriages... A fascinating and informative work, the book is lucidly written by an expert in the field, and is accessible to a wide variety of readers. Extensive references.”
—C. Adamsky, Choice
“Wiseman’s The Other Half examines the emotions, beliefs, and behaviors of ‘others,’ wives of alcoholics who remain in alcoholic marriages. . . . Wiseman’s work is a significant contribution to the alcohol and deviance literatures; and it has the potential to further recast and ground the study of drinking problems in the interactional arenas in which they occur.”
—David R. Rudy, Contemporary Sociology
“This is a work of major importance and includes the comments and perceptions of many research subject, common to this tradition, which allows the reader to access how well Jacqueline Wiseman has done her work. Seasoned veterans will conclude that she has done it very well indeed.”
—John M. Johnson, American Journal of Sociology
“The details and clarity with which the methodology and findings are described make the book useful for researchers who have not been schooled in the qualitative tradition. The book will be useful for research classes, for general research use, and for those who are involved in the family and substance abuse literature. The reviewer suggests that the chapter on methodology be read first as it sets an excellent stage for the volume.”
—Joan F. Robertson, Journal of Marriage and Family