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Ecstatic geographies: Clubbing, crowds and playful vitality.

Malbon, Benedict R; (1998) Ecstatic geographies: Clubbing, crowds and playful vitality. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis is about the motivations for, the socio-spatio-temporal and bodily-emotional practices constituting, the cultures, spacings and mediations influencing, and the vitality that may be engendered through, the experiences of 'clubbing' in contemporary central London. More specifically, the thesis sets out to answer three broad questions: how is clubbing constituted through the practices, imaginations and emotions of the clubbers themselves; how does music and dancing so powerfully affect our experiencing of spaces, of ourselves and of others; and, how is clubbing, as a form of 'play', so important to the wider identities and identifications of the clubbers, and in what ways can it engender vitality through its playful practices? The clubbing experiences of eighteen clubbers are used in progressing three interrelated literatures - on 'youth cultures' and being young, on consumption and consuming, and on identity and identifications - through the development of four broad but connected themes. First I am interested in processes of identification and the construction of notions of 'cool'. Second, I highlight the constitution, practices and spacings of musical and dancing crowds as central to clubbing. Third, I examine the 'moments of ecstasy' that can characterise clubbing - and especially dancing - experiences. Finally, I problematise existing understandings of both 'play' and 'resistance' in elaborating a notion of 'playful vitality', but I then also question often over-romanticised and idealistic visions of the dance floor as constituting 'melting pot' communality and facilitating the 'gathering of the tribes'. I conclude by focusing upon the immediate post-clubbing experiences of the clubbers. Re-engaging with my original three sets of debates and literatures, I present clubbing as a temporary and alternate world, partly of the clubbers' own constructions and imaginations, in which the everyday is disrupted, the mundane is forgotten, and the ecstatic becomes possible.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Ecstatic geographies: Clubbing, crowds and playful vitality.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10103875
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