Towards an ‘eclectic’ and ‘quirky’ night-time economy? An analysis of government, culture and class in Bournemouth

This source preferred by William Haydock

Authors: Haydock, W.

Start date: 12 December 2013

The British night-time economy today has been characterised by academics across various disciplines as the result of neoliberal attempts to regenerate the evening economy ‘on the cheap’ (Roberts 2006), leading to the dominance of ‘mainstream nightlife’ at the expense of subcultural traditional working-class alternatives (Chatterton and Hollands 2003, Talbot 2006, Winlow and Hall 2006, Hayward and Hobbs 2007). One preferable alternative offered is the ideal of a ‘diverse’ and ‘inclusive’ ‘creative city’, with a greater focus on ‘culture’ (Roberts 2006, Eldridge and Roberts 2008).

This paper will analyse how such ideas have been taken up in the planning and regulation of the night-time economy in Bournemouth. It is argued that the current emphasis on ‘eclectic’ and ‘quirky’ venues understood as ‘cosmo bars’ should be understood with reference to work on class and ‘omnivorous’ or ‘emerging’ cultural capital, as well as the concept of ‘the cosmopolitan limit’ (Skeggs 2004, Savage et al. 2013). Statements of local stakeholders have remarkable resonances with how some drinkers employ concepts of ‘difference’ in discussing drinking (Haydock 2010). Seeing this congruence as illustrative of an underlying symbolic economy (Bourdieu 1984, Skeggs 2004), it is argued that local alcohol policy is both reflective and constitutive of class.

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