Stephen Tomsen

Identity wars. Crime, safety and conflict in Sydney's night-time economy

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Urban Conflict; Night-time Economy; Social Identity; Violence; Crime; Sydney.

Contemporary cities now rival each other more openly to attract global finance and investment, as well as to win cultural status in the promotion of heightened leisure consumption. The contradictions of this are reflected in celebratory and pessimistic discourses about nightlife, and the night-time economy is experienced as a sphere of both pleasurable liminality and conflicts over collective identity invoked to justify practices and demands around urban inclusion or exclusion. After dark city leisure is a paradoxical locus of pleasure, risk and social conflict. This article draws on the author's decades of research on night-time leisure and violence in Sydney, including ethnographic field observations, a survey questionnaire, and analysis of online postings and debates, to illustrate how these trends have become publically divisive. It is also apparent from this evidence that a process of neo-liberal change and urban transformation underlies concerns about the direct experience of irritation, threat and incivility in nocturnal leisure settings that attract expanded numbers of revellers with clashing social identities.

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