The 'pleasure citizen' Analyzing partying as a form of social and political participation

Sarah Riley*, Yvette Morey, Christine Griffin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (SciVal)


In this article, we explore the potential for leisure as a site for new forms of political participation. Using electronic dance music culture (EDMC) as an example, we locate our analysis within theories of neo-liberalism and neo-tribalism, both of which suggest that political participation may be occurring at an informal level through consumption. Interview and focus group data on participation in EDMC in the southwest of England were analyzed, producing the themes of 'community, sociality and belonging', 'hedonism', 'multiplicity and flux' and 'Sovereignty'. These themes provided evidence for EDMC as a site for neo-tribal social and political participation, in which people created local and informal spaces of autonomy characterized by a celebration of community, sociality and hedonism. However, participants also drew on neo-liberal discourses of individualism, rights and responsibilities to make sense of their participation in EDMC, producing a move from economic and consumer citizen subjects to the 'pleasure' citizen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-54
Number of pages22
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010


  • rave
  • consumption
  • political participation
  • neo-tribal theory
  • everyday politics
  • citizenship
  • electronic dance music culture
  • neo-liberalism


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