Bar Wars: Contesting the Night in Contemporary British Cities

Paperback | August 28, 2006

byPhil Hadfield

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In Britain today, if you are in the business of fighting crime, then you have to be in the business of dealing with alcohol. 'Binge-drinking' culture is intrinsic to urban leisure and has come to pose a key threat to public order. Unsurprisingly, a struggle is occurring. Pub and clubcompanies, local authorities, central government, the police, the judiciary, local residents, and revellers, all hold variously competing notions of night-time social order and the uses and meanings of public and private space. Bar Wars explores the issue of contestation within and between these groups. Located within a long tradition of urban ethnography, the book offers unique and hard-hitting analyses of social control in bars and clubs, courtroom battles between local communities and the drinks industry, andstreet-level policing, These issues go the heart of contemporary debates on anti-social behaviour and were hotly debated during the development of the Licensing Act 2003 and its contentious passage through parliament. The book presents a controversial critique of recent shifts in national alcohol policy. It uses historical, documentary, interview, and observational methods to chart the emergence of the 'night-time high street,' a social environment set aside for the exclusive purposes of mass hedonisticconsumption, and describes the political and regulatory struggles that help shape important aspects of urban life. The book identifies the adversarial licensing trial as a key arena of contestation and describes how leisure corporations and their legal champions circumvent regulatory control incourtroom duels with subordinate opponents. The author's experiences as an expert witness to the licensing courts provide a unique perspective, setting his work apart from other academic commentators. Bar Wars takes the study of the night-time economy to a new level of sophistication, making itessential reading for all those wishing to understand the governance of crime and social order in contemporary cities.

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In Britain today, if you are in the business of fighting crime, then you have to be in the business of dealing with alcohol. 'Binge-drinking' culture is intrinsic to urban leisure and has come to pose a key threat to public order. Unsurprisingly, a struggle is occurring. Pub and clubcompanies, local authorities, central government, the...

Phil Hadfield is a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of York. His main areas of research include nightlife and crime, alcohol policy, workplace violence, policing, urban sociology, and symbolic interactionism. Recent publications include Bouncers: Violence and Governance in the Night-time Economy, (OUP, 2003) a...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:344 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.8 inPublished:August 28, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019929786X

ISBN - 13:9780199297863

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements1. "Couldn't Give a XXXX for Last Orders?" - The Politics of the NightI Nights Past2. The Uses of Darkness3. Paradise Lost: The Rise of the Night-time High StreetII The Contemporary Environment4. Behind Bars: Social Control in Licensed Premises5. Contesting Public SpaceIII Contemporary Contestations6. The Combatants7. Rose-Coloured Spectacles versus the Prophecies of Doom (The Shaping of Trial Discourse)8. Notes from the Frontline: Licensing and the Courts9. Contesting the NightAppendix"Price Discounts 'Out of Control' in Birmingham"Glossary of TermsReferences

Editorial Reviews

"An insider's view of the exploitative and occassional ruthless underbelly of the licensed venues that populate the British 'high-street'... The power plays, the striking deals, competition for prized locations and the stockpiling of transferable licenses, summon up images of a giant game ofmonopoly played out on real streets with real hotels and really big dollars...(the author) leaves us in no doubt of his authenticity and personal credentials for writing this book...Timely, intelligently written, supported by insight from personal experience - but tempered with academic rigour - BarWars is recommended reading for anyone interested in the inexorable and complex relations between the late-drinking environment, crime, regulation, governace and policy" Drug and Alcohol Review