The marketplace management of illicit pleasure

Christina Goulding, Avi Shankar, Richard Elliott, Robin Canniford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

166 Citations (SciVal)


Through pleasure, a foundational concept in consumer behavior, we offer an analysis of the history, development, and experience of clubbing, the postcursor of rave and the contextual focus of this article. On the basis of a 5-year study primarily involving participant observation and interviewing, we present an analysis of how the clubbing experience is cocreated by promoters, DJs, and clubbers themselves. We develop and demonstrate a biosocial conceptualization of pleasure and show how the shared experience of music and dance, the organization of space, and the effects of the drug ecstasy combine to produce a highly sought-after, calculated suspension of the rules and norms of everyday life. Further, we suggest that the club, as well as the pleasurable practices and experiences that it supports, has become a site of contained illegality. Here, the illicit, subversive practices of rave have now become shepherded and channeled into more predictable, manageable, and regulated environments facilitated by the "knowing wink" of club promoters, police, and state authorities. Implications for consumer research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-771
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number5
Early online date6 Oct 2008
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009


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