Chatterton Paul, Hollands Robert - Urban Nightscapes
|In many western cities, urban nightlife is experiencing a 'McDonaldisation', where big branded names are taking over large parts of downtown areas, leaving consumers with an increasingly standardised experience. Urban Nightscapes takes a new look at this rapidly changing aspect of urban life, examining the relationships between young adults, nightlife and city spaces. It focuses on what the authors call 'urban nightscapes' - youthful and playful cultural activities in bars, pubs, night-clubs and music venues, which occur against a backdrop of increasing corporate influence in the night-time economy.|
The first part of the book explores three inter-related aspects of these nightscapes: production and the role of large-scale corporate entertainment operators, who provide branded, themed and stylised experiences; regulation through practices which aid capital accumulation and city 'image-building'; and consumption where a night out is characterised by segmentation of youth identity and activity. Urban Nightscapes highlights who owns and controls the night-time economy and in particular, the increasing amount of mergers and concentration of ownership; the pervasive use of surveillance (both technological and social); and how mainstream, commercial nightlife is squeezing out both older, historic and alternative, independent forms of enjoyment. The second part of the book then colourfully explores these ideas through detailed ethnographic case-studies of young professionals, students, women and gay consumers, excluded groups and also alternative nightlife activity, such as squats and free parties.
Throughout the book the authors explore pockets of resistance to the standardised experience and suggest a number of potential future scenarios for cities at night beyond the corporate nightlife machine. These include the development of a more diverse, creative and democratic night-time economy, in which big business and their profits play a much smaller role. Urban Nightscapes presents a theoretical and lively ethnographic account for understanding contemporary youth cultures, urban change and nightlife. It is relevant to those interested in issues of popular culture, corporate power and resistance in the contemporary city.