Bouncers, Policing and the (In)visibility of Ethnicity in Nightlife Security Governance

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Bouncers, Policing and the (In)visibility of Ethnicity in Nightlife Security Governance


  • Thomas Friis Søgaard Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences, Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research, Aarhus University, Denmark


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Abstract:  This article explores the reproduction of ethnified urban spaces and inequalities in an ostensibly cosmopolitan city. It does so by means of a case study of bouncers’ policing practices in the nightlife of the Danish city, Aarhus. In recent years, a substantial body of research has explored the regulatory practices of bouncers operating in the urban night-time economy. This article contributes to the study of nightlife policing by paying special attention to the ethnic governance of bouncers. More specifically, the article investigates how ethnicity is produced in bouncers’ administration of nightlife accessibility; how inclusion and exclusion are negotiated in encounters between bouncers and ethnic minority youth; and how bouncers struggle to avoid allegations of discrimination and to uphold notions of colorblind good governance, while ethnified notions of troublesome individuals continue to inform bouncers’ production of nightlife safety.

Keywords:  bouncers; cosmopolitanism; ethnicity; (in)visibility; neoliberalism; night-time economy; security governance

Published:   17 September 2014


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v2i3.34


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