Nocturnal Paradox: How Breakdancing Reveals the Potentials of the Night

  • Rachael GunnEmail author
Part of the Pop Music, Culture and Identity book series (PMCI)


This chapter is an exploration into how breakdancing (“breaking”) can be a vehicle for understanding the inherent tensions and dualities of the night, or what I term the “nocturnal paradox”. It moves beyond hegemonic discourses and regulations of night-time culture that are increasingly focused on its economic valorization to show how breaking—an activity in Sydney (Australia) that exists outside economic transactions—can offer a means to experience and navigate the nocturnal city in new ways. At a time when the strict regulation of lockout laws has spurred a slow decline in the economic-viability of nocturnal cultural activities in Sydney, breakers utilize the empty urban landscape to freely experiment with creative expression. This chapter moves beyond the often-limited and paradoxical framings of night-time culture to show how breaking reveals the potentials of the night.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Media, Music, Communications, Cultural StudiesMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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