Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in 1935 and a great deal has been written about the program and its membership, but little has been done on how it reflects the 1930s and Depression Era culture. Using Warren Susman's writings as a starting point, this dissertation investigates how AA reflects 1930s American culture and what the group can tell us about the era as well. The dissertation begins with examining the temperance and prohibition eras and how they impacted the initial design of the program, especially the writing of the text, Alcoholics Anonymous.

With the advent of World War II, AA, like the rest of the nation underwent enormous changes. In Alcoholics Anonymous's case, the spread and increase of membership was especially profound. The fellowship went from a slow growing, grass roots movement to an international organization almost overnight. Finally, as American culture took a decidedly conservative turn in the postwar and 1950s period, Alcoholics Anonymous changed its message to suit not only the changing political climate but the economic climate as well.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.