Bouncer: Exploring a Drugs Culture in a London Nightclub. A Work in Progress

Bill Sanders, University of London, Goldsmiths College

The paper is about ecstasy and cocaine use and supply in a nightclub in South London. First, I briefly discuss and explore the history of 'rave' culture in England, and how there has been an overall shift in the rave 'scene' from secret outdoor parties, to legalised and regulated nights at clubs. I also discuss how the use of some drugs, specifically ecstasy and cocaine, go hand-in-glove with rave culture, and that the use of such drugs in this environment is 'normal.' From here, I look at how some of the bouncers at a nightclub in South London were selling ecstasy and cocaine to punters. Data for research this was based on roughly 18 months of complete-participant observation as a bouncer at this nightclub and interviews with some of the other bouncers. Overall, I argue that this nighclub is home to a drugs economy complete with a drugs culture, and that both drug users and drug sellers benefit from the evening. In this regard, it is very much distinct from street-level drug selling cultures and economies. Other aspects discussed include bouncer's attitudes towards various drugs, violence and masculinity and some methodological considerations.

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Updated 05/20/2006