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Night lives: Heterotopia, youth transitions and cultural infrastructure in the urban night

Ben Gallan

Urban Studies, 2015, vol. 52, issue 3, 555-570

Abstract: This paper adapts the concept of heterotopia to understand youth transitions through spaces of night-time cultural infrastructure. While youth transitions in the urban night have been well theorised, what these transitions mean for diverse cultural infrastructure provision has received less attention. Drawing on ethnography of a local punk music scene in the Australian city of Wollongong, the paper analyses how the scene was connected to one specific venue, an alternative ‘haven’ in a monopolised night-time economy. Participants revealed a trend of repetitive yet relatively fleeting association with the local scene and venue, at times a site of hedonism and celebration but also enabling grief and rites-of-passage. Temporal elements of heterotopia are developed to interpret the venue’s valued sense of ‘difference’ during active participation, but also long after association with the space. Such transitions are poorly understood, especially in planning and policy debate, influencing the way night-time cultural infrastructure is provisioned.

Keywords: cultural infrastructure; heterotopia; music scene; music venue; night; urban; youth transitions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:52:y:2015:i:3:p:555-570