Carefree or Controlled? Understanding the Night-Time Economy
The term ‘Night-Time Economy’ was coined in the late twentieth century (Shaw 2014) in town planning circles, and increasingly used into the twenty-first century to describe the expanding number of pubs, bars and clubs concentrated in city centres and targeting predominantly 18–24-year-olds (Roberts 2006: 332). But what exactly is the Night-Time Economy, and what role does it play in the lives of young women today? How has it changed as a site of leisure, and what does it mean to say that neoliberal forces have played a role in shaping it? What do we mean by the supposed ‘feminisation’ of the NTE, and what are the implications of this process for the ways that women engage with these spaces? This chapter charts the development of the NTE in the UK and the rise of the ‘24-hour city’, highlighting the ways in which neoliberal ideals have shaped both the landscape of the NTE and the types of behaviours and consumption practices that are expected within it. Such considerations are important for research that attends both to the wider social structures within the NTE and the individual specificities of the lives of young people as they participate in it. I will then explore the significance of space and place in research focusing on the NTE, situating the current study geographically and exploring Newcastle’s own NTE in more depth and detail.
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