The Licensing Act 2003 and the Problematization of the Night‐time Economy: Planning, Licensing and Subcultural Closure in the UK


Nightlife historically has been viewed as a social problem to be contained by licensing, policing and the management of supply. In the context of recent trends towards deregulation of hours and supply, fears have again resurfaced as to the detrimental impact of the ‘night‐time economy’ on street disorder and violence, concerns that have focused attention on the Licensing Act 2003. Utilizing a case study of the regulation of nightlife in the London locality of Southview, this article will explore how there has been ongoing and renewed attention on the problems associated with the night‐time economy centred on differentiating between risky and safe cultural and economic forms. The article will argue that the Licensing Act represents a consolidation of over a decade of regulatory change that has ‘reordered’ regulatory approaches to nightlife; one that has, in combination with other aspects of economic, social and cultural change, been productive of ‘subcultural closure’.