The Rise of the “Pleasure Citizen”: How Leisure Can be a Site for Alternative Forms of Political Participation

  • Sarah RileyEmail author
  • Christine Griffin
  • Yvette Morey


This chapter examines the idea that alongside a decline in traditional forms of political participation, new forms of political participation are emerging within the realm of leisure. Exploring these ideas through theories of neoliberalism and neo-tribalism, we report an empirical analysis of ethnographic observations, interviews and focus groups with 31 participants of electronic dance music culture (EDMC) from two case studies (attendees of ‘drum and bass’ club nights and illegal ‘free parties’) in the South West of England. These events were characterised by hyper-sociality and hedonistic intoxication. Participants made sense of their participation in EDMC through collectivist discourses of sociality and belonging, and with individualistic discourses that constructed their partying as an exercise of personal freedom, individual responsibility and consumer choice. Our analysis suggests evidence of a new subject position, the ‘pleasure citizen’, in which rights to autonomous consumption and personal risk management are claimed as markers of citizenship.


Young People Political Participation Sense Making Economic Participation Economic Citizen 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyAberystwyth UniversityAberystwythWales, UK
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of BathBathUK
  3. 3.Bristol Social Marketing Centre, Bristol Business SchoolThe University of the West of EnglandBristolEngland

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