Geography Reference
In-Depth Information
apts to diverse fashions, proffers escape (sometimes with added transgressional thrills)
and regulates who's in and who's out of the crowd, the dance club fulfils many youth
cultural agendas” (25). Once inside the club, and temporarily attached to a community,
the resultant experience of enjoyment, the “communal ethic,” is derived from both the
sharingoftheclubspace,the“proximityoftheactofsharing,”aswellasfromtheform-
ation and preservation of some sense of membership or unity. The vibe makes available
“feelingsofmembership”thatworktoconstitutecollectiveandindividualformsofsub-
jectivity, rendering specific affective states accessible and mediating the subject's parti-
cipation in social life.
This talk about the vibe and feelings of not belonging differs from much of the dis-
course studied by place identity researchers in one important respect: The target is not
primarilyaboundarytransgressingOther:Rather,itisthevibeitself.Thetroublingpres-
ence is the externalized assemblage of affect which pervades the place. The primary ob-
jectofthediscourseisalackoffitbetweenthespeakerandtheplace.Thesefirstperson
accounts bring the analytic gaze closer to the actions of the speaker and, more specific-
ally, to their accounts of whether or not they are able to participate in a particular form
of life. The feeling of displacement is not primarily about the physical presence of per-
sons in place as much as it is about the ability of the speaker to participate in the life of
the place and thus be able to access desirable forms of subjectivity.
Theviberegulatesbehaviorinplaces.Itactsasanormativeframeworkagainstwhich
deviationisaccountable.Forexample,Clairedescribeshow“ifyougetdeepaboutyour
problemsoraboutwhatyouthinkaboutthecrisisinthe,Idon'tknow,inSouthAfricaor
whatever,thecrimerate,whateverthestoryis,itdestroysyourvibe,”which,sheargues,
results in the loss of “that sense of happiness.” She explains that “if somebody asks you
what your mental problems are or how you're dealing with the death of your mother or
your recent divorce, your entire evening is ruined. That happy vibe that you have now
psychedyourselfupintohasgone.”Here,Claire providesaprescriptive account ofhow
to behave when clubbing with friends so as to preserve a happy vibe. Talk about death
and divorce is not appropriate. The vibe renders conduct in places accountable. This is
apparenttoowhenTara—atwenty-seven-year-old,whitefemale,andoneoftheprimary
researchers on this project—expresses a preference for places where the combination of
“music and people” don't cause her to feel “judged.” “I love places where you can go
and just, umm, act like an idiot, which is how I usually act when I go out, and not feel
like embarrassed or weird the next morning. It's like a place where you can just—do
whatever you want.”
The repertoire of clubbing behavior has to fit the place. The vibe should be such that
it can facilitate a form of engagement with the place, the performativity and forms of
subjectivity that the person is seeking from a place. If the fit is not right, if the vibe is
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