Clubbing: Dancing, Ecstasy and Vitality

By Ben Malbon | Go to book overview

PLAYING—CONSUMING—FLUXING

The rather nebulous character of the conception which I have developed of how clubbing intersects with the wider lives of the clubbers and the city in which they live does not detract from the powerful, theoretical and conceptual resonance of the night out itself. Just as the clubbers engage in various practices of reflection about the night just passed, so I, in terms of this book and the many nights out which have formed part of it, want to reflect on where ‘The night out’ has taken us and how we might progress and deepen an evolving understanding of clubbing in terms of the starting points I set out in ‘The beginnings’.

Clubbing matters to many young people. There is little stylistic or musical unity across the cultures of clubbing, and the already countless genres of clubbing continue to fragment and multiply. Yet for those that enjoy clubbing, it continues to constitute one source of vitality and an important form of self-expression within their wider lives, whatever the beats or other clubbers involved. Theorists and academics interested in clubbing cultures have begun to recognise this significance of clubbing for young people and—with varying degrees of success—have attempted to present understandings of how and why the practices and spacings of clubbing matter to the clubbers. Remarkably few attempts have managed to evoke the interactional complexity, the communality, the technical and stylistic demands and the emotional and imaginative constitution of clubbing. Ethnographies of clubbing are especially scarce.

It is no surprise that the experiences of the night out which we have just traced provoke many more questions than they provide answers—this is not something of which to be wary if one is searching for textured understandings as opposed to notions of ‘truth’. However, in terms of our understandings of clubbing for eighteen clubbers in London during the mid-1990s, it is possible to make a number of connections with and progressions from the ‘starting points’ outlined in ‘The beginnings’, as well as drawing together a number of themes that subsequently cut through the four sections of ‘The night out’.

Therefore, I now make three clearly related, overlapping, but as I present them

-180-

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Clubbing: Dancing, Ecstasy and Vitality
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Part One - The Beginnings 1
  • The Night Ahead 3
  • Clubbing Contexts 6
  • Three Starting Points 11
  • Researching Clubbing 32
  • Part Two - The Night Out 35
  • Getting into It, Feeling Part of It 37
  • The Dancer from the Dance 70
  • Moments of Ecstasy 105
  • Clubbing and Playful Vitality 134
  • Part Three - Reflections 167
  • Introduction 169
  • Three Stories of Afterglow 170
  • Playing—consuming—fluxing 180
  • Nights Out 188
  • Appendix 191
  • Notes 199
  • References 210
  • Index 228
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