Bar Wars : contesting the night in British cities
The usage and meanings of public space within the night-time city have been issues of contestation for centuries. This thesis employs primary and secondary historical literature, formal and informal interviews and participant observation to trace the evolution of such contestation and explore some of its current manifestations. In doing so, the thesis charts the emergence of the 'night-time high street,' a bounded social setting purged of heterogeneity in order to conform more fully to the expectations of its core constituency. This theme of commercially moulded social order is brought to the fore in a discussion of social control within licensed premises. The tendency to focus upon individual or limited combinations of factors in the strategic management of crime risk is eschewed in favour of an analysis of the purposive, complex and interconnected orchestration of security-related activity. By comparison, public policing of the streets is revealed as reactive, and increasingly reactionary, the State having compromising its role as primary guardian of public order. The thesis goes on to identify the adversarial licensing trial as a key arena of contemporary contestation. At trial, combatants deploy a range of skills, resources and capacities in interaction and have access to a repertoire of arguments and counterarguments. In addition to the strategic manipulation of content, effective engagement requires attention to the form in which evidence is delivered. These factors work to the detriment of objectors as they seek to prepare, present and defend their case. The practical success of industry players arises by dint of their success at persuasion and seasoned ability to denounce the arguments of their opponents. These interactional accomplishments are facilitated by enhanced access to financial and legal resources and combine with the threat of litigation and ideological affinities with Government to create a situation of 'regulatory capture'.