University of Hertfordshire

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Down the local: A qualitative case study of daytime drinking spaces in the London Borough of Islington

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Early online date7 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


BACKGROUND: Recognising the lack of research on daytime drinking practices in areas with managed night-time economies (NTEs), this qualitative study explores the phenomena in the London Borough of Islington; a rapidly gentrifying area with a highly regulated night-time economy (NTE). The objectives were to (i) Characterise the daytime drinking spaces of the local alcohol environment and (ii) Theorise the ways in which these spaces, and the practices and performativities within them, are situated within broader social and economic trends.

METHODS: Adopting a legitimate peripheral participation approach to data collection, 39 licensed premises were visited in Islington and on-site observations carried out between the hours of 12 pm and 6 pm using a semi-structured observation guide. Observations were written-up into detailed fieldnotes, uploaded to NVivo and subject to a thematic analysis.

FINDINGS: The daytime on-premises alcohol environment was characterised by two main trends: the decline of traditional pubs and a proliferation of hybrid establishments in which alcohol was framed as part of a suite of attractions. The consumption trends that the latter exemplify are implicated in processes of micro-cultural production and 'hipster capitalism'; and it is via this framing that we explore the way the diverse local drinking spaces were gendered and classed. Hybrid establishments have been regarded as positive in terms of public health, crime and safety. However, they could also help introduce drinking within times and contexts where it was not previously present.

CONCLUSION: The intersection of an expanding hipster habitus with Local Authority efforts to tackle 'determined drunkenness' create very particular challenges. The operating practices of hybrid venues may feed into current alcohol industry strategies of promoting 'new moments' in which consumers can drink. They blur the divisions between work and play and produce temporal and classed divisions of drinking.


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