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Bar WarsContesting the Night in Contemporary British Cities$
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Phil Hadfield

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199297856

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199297856.001.0001

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Contesting Public Space

Contesting Public Space

(p.123) 5 Contesting Public Space
Bar Wars

Phil Hadfield

Oxford University Press

Drawing from ethnographic work in seven British towns, this chapter documents the forms of criminality which are routinely played out in the public spaces of those areas devoted to night-time consumption. It draws on interviews with club managers, security staff, police, and city centre residents, and presents thick description of nights ‘on the town’. The chapter provides unique analyses of the challenges of frontline policing and presents a conceptual model which links the commercial homogeneity of the night-time high street to an erosion of social difference, a decline in civility, and an atrophy of informal social control. It cautions against apportioning all blame for night-time violence squarely on the young, predominantly male participants/combatants, and in calling for ‘zero tolerance’ policing. Long term solutions, it is argued, must encompass licensing and other governmental techniques to diversify the range of venues and clientele that occupy night-time leisure spaces.

Keywords:   violence, consumption, binge drinking, policing, zero tolerance, social control

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