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    Young People, Alcohol and Suburban Nightscapes

    Wilkinson, Samantha (2018) Young People, Alcohol and Suburban Nightscapes. In: Exploring Nightlife: Space, Society and Governance. Rowman and Littlefield, pp. 114-128. ISBN 978-1-78660-328-9


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    In this chapter, I draw on an ethnographic study exploring the alcohol consumption practices and experiences of young people, aged 15-24. I move beyond the contemporary geographical imaginary of drinking as a city centre issue to unpack marginal/peripheral drinkscapes, including bars, pubs, parks, and streets in the suburban areas of Wythenshawe and Chorlton, Manchester, UK. In doing so, I demonstrate that suburban drinking is a diverse and heterogeneous practice, and there are clear classed spaces that young people move between for their drinking experiences. Young people favour the ability to vary the spaces of their alcohol consumption practices; this can be influenced by factors, such as duration of time since payday. More than this, young people use their perception of the ‘classed other’ to justify socio-spatial processes of inclusion and exclusion from nightscapes; for instance, proclaiming that consuming alcohol in parks is “chavvy”. Whilst much of the existing literature is concerned with how moral judgments about the working-class are used to justify socio-spatial processes of exclusion , young people in my study also offer examples of the opposite occurring. That is, some young people discuss avoiding certain commercial suburban nightscapes on the basis that they are “pretentious”, “kooky”, or “posh”. In addition to expressing disapproval over certain types of people frequenting commercial premises, young people contend that encounters with material culture and sensual atmospheres have the ability to pull them out of place; for instance, wonky pool tables, and particular smellscapes and soundscapes. First, I provide an overview on literature concerning spaces of drinking. Subsequently, I detail my methodology, before going on hear from young people regarding their perceptions of suburban commercial and outdoor drinkscapes. Finally, this chapter is drawn to a close

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