This dissertation is an ethnographic study
club culture in
This study gives background
information on the city of
I have also looked at some of the work on youth subcultures by members of the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies and examined its relevance to modern day youth subcultures. There is a review of some of the literature available on club culture, although, I have noted that not a great deal has actually been written about the experience and importance of club culture, there is however much more literature on the history of the rave and club scenes.
Music is very important in defining spaces and I have explored how music gives meaning to spaces and those within those spaces give meaning to the music.
I have shown the importance
of belonging to social groups and particular
youth orientated spaces to the youth of
All of the research was undertaken in my home town and many of those that I have observed have been members of my social group. I have a great deal of background knowledge on club culture in Plymouth and have used this to allow me access to social and cultural areas that may not have been available to a researcher who was not a local.
This dissertation is an
ethnographic study of nightclub culture in
0.1 – The exterior of the Bus Stop, Bretonside Bus Station,
I wanted to research a topic
that is of interest to me and is already
part of my life. I first went clubbing
Chapter 3 will be the methodology section where I will discuss the research methods I have chosen and explain why I felt that these were the best methods to use. I will also give a review of feminist geography and why I feel that feminist methodologies are important to my chosen method of study. Chapter 4 will be an analysis of the results and I will go into great detail about what I discovered whilst undertaking my research and the importance of my findings.
Rather than study an already
established nightclub venue in
As I have been a local
Although, since the Birmingham C.C.C.S. (discussed in Chapter 2.) was set up, there has been a great deal written on youth subcultures, very little research has been conducted on night club culture as a youth subculture, especially using the ethnographic methods that I have used. During the course of my background reading for this study I came across a relatively large selection of writings and research about dance music and rave culture, this tended to focus on the rave scene of the late 1980s to early 1990s. Although useful to my study, as much of the work discussed the meaning of music to youth and the importance of the rave revolution to the expansion of the modern day club scene, I was unable to find much up to date work on the club scene. I came across numerous books on the history of the modern dance music scene, for example, Matthew Collin’s book entitled Altered State: The Story of Ecstasy Culture and Acid House, this is a fantastic history of the scene and many other writings that I have read have been influenced by this book, as the review on the back cover tells us, this book has become a seminal text on dance culture,
“From its first publication in 1997, Altered State established itself as the definitive text on dance culture…drawing on a wealth of background research and original interviews with key figures on both sides of the law, Altered State examines the causes and contexts, ideologies and myths of Ecstasy culture, dramatising its euphoric narrative from peak experience to comedown and aftermath, and shedding new light on the social history of the most spectacular youth movement of the century”
(Collin, 1997: back cover).
Although this book does offer
some information on club culture, it
mainly focuses on the rave and drug scenes in the
Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton’s book (1999), Last Night a DJ Saved my Life: The history of the disc jockey, is again more of a history book. It charts the creation and rise of the DJ from their beginnings on American radio to the celebrity status that many DJs enjoy today. This book does give more detail on the history of night clubs as they are synonymous with the DJ, but again very little is written about the experience of clubbing, what it means to youth and the social phenomena surrounding it.
There are, however, a few
selected writings on this topic that I wish to
discuss here, to give a background to the research already undertaken
contemporary night club culture. Sarah
Thornton’s book, Club Cultures: Music,
Media and Subcultural Capital, does look more at the sociology of
and also examines club spaces. In
describing what the book is about
As I was researching a group that I am already part of, I tried to find some comparable research. A book by Hillegonda Rietveld, This is out house: House music, cultural spaces and technologies, was exactly this, “this study can be seen as an example of how ethnography can work from the inside out” (1998:5). Rietveld is part of the house music scene, she once produced house music and then decided to research it,
“it was during the course of doing research interviews for this project that I started to realise, with some bewilderment, how much I was actually part of the events which led to the articulation of house music. Instead of walking into strange territory, I ended up being welcomed like a long lost member of the family…because of this the access to research material was relatively easier for me than for someone who had freshly entered this field of research” (261).
This is exactly my position
in the field of my study. I wanted to
study the core group of local
Rietveld does, however, discuss the spaces in which house music is culturally produced and consumed, namely the club, “the social function of which is mainly that of a meeting place where, traditionally, one can play the ritual of mating on an uncommitted physical level and where one can forget one’s daily realities” (165). She also discusses the cultural attachment that people may develop to certain spaces, a concept that I will discuss later on in this study.
I have completed a great deal of background reading on night club culture and dance music. The books I have reviewed here give some idea as to the main focus of a lot of the literature relevant to this study. It has been easy to find historic reviews of this culture but very little has been written about the importance of club culture and club spaces to today’s youth when creating identities and defining social territory, which are the main concepts examined in this study.
The understanding of youth cultures and space is an essential part of modern geography. This study will examine the concept of insiders and outsiders in societal groupings and cultural spaces. It will also examine how certain spaces are created and how people give meanings to spaces and spaces give meanings to people. The importance of social territory will be discussed and how boundaries are created, transgressed and broken down and how important it is to have a sense of place, a feeling of belonging to somewhere. All of these are important geographical issues and will be discussed in detail in this study.