Leisure and nighttime industries

Nightlife is central to the social and cultural life of our ever-increasing urban society. Traditional nightlife venues, such as bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, venues for the live arts, gambling, or dancing, as well as sites for late-night sports and recreation are all integral to community well-being. Besides, the economic value of nightlife has now been well documented, drawing primarily on literature from cities in developed countries where it is often referred to as ‘the night-time leisure economy’. However, leisure at night is much more than just bars, clubs, pubs, and restaurants. Erasmus students’ nocturnal gymkhanas, amateur sport in the evening, parties at domestic spaces, botellón at public parks, streets and squares or even bingos, neighbourhood theatres, shisha associations, or community hair salons opening until midnight while streaming music all represent alternative forms of nightlife that have a central role in the leisure practices of many people across the globe. Commercial nightlife in urban areas of the Global North is highly marked by inequality in terms of access and availability when comparing demographic indicators such as social class, race, age, sexual orientation, wealth, transport provision, disability status, ethnic/national origin, cultural and religious backgrounds as well as their intersections. Moreover, nightlife can also be a source of conflict between revelers and residents; it can lead to anti-social behaviour, alcohol and drug misuse, and it has been linked to the gentrification of formerly working-class neighborhoods. Last but not least, the Covid-19 pandemic and the unprecedented restrictions imposed by local and national governments have meant a huge negative impact on both formal and informal leisure at night. In particular, an increasing number of voices from the nightlife industry across the globe have highlighted their concerns regarding the profound consequences that pandemic-related restrictions might have led to the loss of an important ‘nocturnal fabric’ of the city, including the destruction of thousands of jobs, the consequent growing financial imbalance in the sector, and the definitive closure of a significant number of clubs and discotheques. Therefore, with the need of moving forward towards (bio)safer, healthier, more inclusive, more egalitarian, more resilient, and greener nights in our (post-)pandemic world, important topics emerge for the present and future research of this

Some themes

  • Commercial nightlife industries
  • Creative nighttime economies
  • Subcultures & Underground scenes
  • Public space & informal leisure at night
  • Emotions, affectivities, atmospheres, wellbeing
  • Inequalities, Exclusion & Segregation
  • Inclusion, community building & belonging
  • Present and Future biorisks & resilience strategies
  • Community liveability, pollution, climate emergency & sustainable nights

Leader: Jordi Nofre & Miguel Neiva



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