Locking-Out Uncertainty: Conflict and Risk in Sydney’s Night-Time Economy

  • Murray LeeEmail author
  • Stephen Tomsen
  • Phillip Wadds
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Risk, Crime and Society book series (PSRCS)


This chapter considers the tension between risk, pleasure, and uncertainty in the context of Sydney nightlife. Specifically, it tracks the New South Wales (NSW) government’s recasting of a night-time economy based on neoliberal market freedoms, individual self-regulation, and the promise of a civilized drinking culture to one where danger and risk were to be managed through illiberal ‘lockouts’ and draconian legal deterrents. Under these ‘lockout laws’, the relationship between alcohol consumption and violence has been rendered self-evident, with dangerous groups and their drinking cultures managed through a new level of state intervention. However, for many, the regulation of uncertainty also meant the end of fun and excitement. The ongoing conflict over the regulation of Sydney’s nightlife explored in the chapter offers a snapshot of attempts to manage uncertainty through risk narratives and the implications of this regulation.


Night-time economy Urban violence Alcohol and violence Regulating nightlife Crime and risk 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Law SchoolUniversity of SydneyCamperdownAustralia
  2. 2.Western Sydney UniversitySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Faculty of LawUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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