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Beyond Night-Time Economy: Affective Atmospheres of the Urban Night

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Robert Shaw



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


This paper develops the use of the concept of atmosphere in an ‘assemblage urbanism’ approach, as a way of reevaluating how we understand the night-time city. In doing so, this paper rejects what it sees as an overuse of the term ‘night-time economy’ as a synonym for ‘urban night’. Instead, it seeks to describe the night-time city center as an affective atmosphere, emerging from the arranging of practices, bodies and materials. In this vision, an affective atmosphere is best understood as a form of ‘placed assemblage’. My studies of taxi drivers and street cleaners in a British city are used to illustrate and explore how this occurs, drawing from an analytic framework developed out of the work of Deleuze and Guattari. As such, this paper offers a broader vision of the urban night, which sees the perspective taken by ‘night-time economy studies’ as reflecting just a portion of the practices which generate the affective atmosphere of the night-time city center.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Shaw R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Geoforum

Year: 2014

Volume: 51

Issue: 1

Pages: 87-95

Print publication date: 01/01/2014

Online publication date: 12/11/2013

Acceptance date: 08/10/2013

Date deposited: 07/09/2015

ISSN (print): 0016-7185

ISSN (electronic): 1872-9398

Publisher: Pergamon Press


DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2013.10.005


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