The History and Context of Club Culture

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The History and Context of Club Culture

"History is hard to know because of all the hired bullshit, but

even without being sure of history it seems entirely reasonable

that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes

to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really

understands at the time, and which never explain, in retrospect,

what really happened"

(Hunter.S.Thompson, "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas")

The late 1980's saw the emergence of a hugely significant social

phenomenon. Rave culture (or club culture as it is now most commonly

referred to), is of massive appeal to many young people and statistics

by Mintel show that 15.7 million people in Britain go clubbing each

weekend (Mintel:1996). Clubbing has become a major cultural industry

and cities such as Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester to name but a few,

all have well developed clubbing industries making a substantial

contribution to the local cities economy. Many cities have actively

pursued inner city regeneration programmes partially based on the

nighttime economy and attraction of clubbers (Malbon 1999:6).

Club culture has become a notable area of study for two main reasons.

Firstly because of the ever increasing scale of its appeal in modern

society, and secondly because of the largely negative social reaction

it has received from the media, police and the government. This led to

a major moral panic surrounding rave culture, with key debates

centring on the culture's relationship with the illegal drug ecstasy.

The fear was that this culture would encompass all youth; it therefore

constituted a threat to both the social and moral ...

... middle of paper ...

...ut even being old enough to attend the

club. Magazines such as 'Mixmag', 'Musik' and 'Ministry' have all

referred to these clubs as 'brand names'. In addition to this the

Island of Ibiza has been described as "the clubbing Mecca" (Mixmag

June 2002), attracting thousands of young British clubbers each year

with one aim - to club! Despite the massive possibilities this pastime

holds for study "the latest and by a long way probably the largest and

most influential of recent young people's cultures or styles in

Britain can be found in club cultures" (Malbon 1999:16), the

sociological literature on the topic is in fact quite sparse, and what

is available tends to be quite diverse and with distinct



[1] See Appendix for definitions

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