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BBC Radio 4: Dr Adam Eldridge discusses the concept of night life in contemporary Britain

Sociology 21 December 2018

London at night

Dr Adam Eldridge, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was interviewed by BBC Radio 4 to discuss the concept of night life in current Western culture.

He explained: “The problem in part is that we typically understand night life as a natural concept, it’s when it gets dark if you like. On the other hand, here we are in Central London, it’s 4pm and it’s probably already dark outside – so is this night life?

“The better way to perhaps define night life is actually by asking what people are doing. But there you get into problems as well because from the moment that we define night life, we immediately start to exclude various other things that have happened.”

Explaining further, he said: “If we say that the night is about leisure or the night is about fun, then we are immediately forgetting the fact that around 13% of the British population actually start work after 6pm. Here in London, roughly 31% of workers are still working after 6 o’clock as well.”

Drawing on his co-edited book, ‘Exploring Nightlife: Space, Society and Governance’, he also talked about how perceptions of night time in the city have changed historically, saying: “It was really around the 18th century particularly as a result of lighting and similar technologies that we got this idea quite similar to our own. The next really big change that happened was in the 1980s, when we started to develop the idea of the 24/7 culture.”

Listen to the full interview on BBC Radio 4.

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