Academic journal article Resources for Feminist Research

Gentrification and Playful Disregard

Academic journal article Resources for Feminist Research

Gentrification and Playful Disregard

Article excerpt

Currently in Vancouver, BC, a process of rapid development within the urban centre as well as the containment and regulation of entertainment space is occurring. Drawing from interviews, observation and analysis of print media, this paper discusses how one local house party that took place in September 2004 is linked to gentrifying processes and the regulation and demonization of youth pleasure practices.

Il y a lieu actuellement a Vancouver, C.-B., un processus de developpement rapide au sein du centre urbain en meme temps que l'endiguement et la regulation des espaces de divertissement. Puisant dans des entretiens, l'observation et l'anaryse de la presse ecrite, cet article discute de la facon dont une << house party >> locale qui a eu lieu en septembre 2004 est liee a la fois aux processus d'embourgeoisement et la reglementation et la diabolisation des pratiques du plaisir des jeunes.


In Vancouver BC, on September 25, 2004, the city's riot squad was called out for a house party turned "punk riot." Two years later, a condo development, "DoMainliving," advertised as "Vancouver's hippest condo ever," haunts the very same location. This case is representative of how some youth cultures are marginalized within mainstream media and in turn, how this can (inadvertently?) work to justify gentrification practices which rely on and erase urban subcultures. Drawing from interviews, observation and analysis of Vancouver's two major daily newspapers, The Province and The Vancouver Sun, (1) I trace media coverage (2) of one local party and examine the claims made about participants. I discuss how one local party is linked to larger issues related to the regulation and demonization of youth pleasure practices (punk sub-cultures in particular, and their claims on urban space), as well as how such claims interconnect with gentrifying processes.

This paper is based on preliminary findings from an ethnographic study of alternative (punk and indie) youth's urban nightlife practices within the city of Vancouver, BC. Data for the larger project, (3) upon which this article was founded, was collected over a one year period (Dec. 2005- Dec. 2006) through both participant observation and 25 in-depth qualitative interviews with participants, both female and male between the ages of 19 and 33. The majority of those interviewed were female, described themselves as white and lived in East Vancouver at the time of the study. More than half of the interviewees identified themselves as working class. Interviewees were recruited based on their level of participation within the indie and punk scenes, determined primarily by their regular attendance at alternative indie venues. Participant observation was conducted in 21 sites associated with Vancouver's independent dance scene (though dancing did not always take place); these sites were centred primarily in Vancouver's Eastside and often the Downtown Eastside (DTES) more specifically. Of the 21 sites covered: nine were bars (mainly located in the DTES but some were in the Mount Pleasant district); five were other spaces converted for dance events, such as artist spaces, businesses, community centres or warehouses; and seven were free, informal spaces such as house parties or public spaces. It is the latter, the free spaces, around which this article centres. In analyzing the data I draw from feminist thought and also grounded theory, a methodological approach that allows for constant comparison and the ongoing emergence of categories and themes from the data (Strauss and Corbin, 1990).

Since the 1990s, the entertainment district, which centres around downtown Granville Street, has been in the process of being rezoned as Vancouver's "official" and "primary" entertainment district (City of Vancouver, 2007a), where the nightlife economy of youth-dominated bars, clubs, music venues, tourist entertainments and restaurants is encouraged to thrive. …

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