Party tourism, pub crawls and crazy nights in Bairro Alto, Lisbon: Celebrating cosmopolitanism in a racialized heterotopic pleasurescape

Research output: Working paper

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Lisbon has experienced a boom in tourism since the beginning of the past decade. In parallel, the expansion of the nighttime leisure economy in the historical neighbourhoods of the city centre has gained renown. In part, this reflects the recent growth in international college students, high-skilled international workers temporarily living in the city as well as visitors and tourists. In one of Lisbon historical city centre neighbourhoods, Bairro Alto, the nightlife has experienced recent and accelerated changes that have re-shaped the multiple forms in which tourists and visitors ‘experience’ the neighbourhood during night-time leisure hours. One such change involves the case of the rapid proliferation of pub-crawls. Based on ongoing ethnographic research into the urban nightlife in Bairro Alto that began in January 2010, this working paper sets out the preliminary findings about the ‘hyperfestive atmosphere’ of nighttime pub-crawls in Bairro Alto. In particular, the paper explores how the production, reproduction and consumption of the hyperfestive atmospheres of celebration of middle-class cosmopolitanism prevailing within pub-crawls are devoted to avoiding any undesired contact with ‘the others’ – i.e., anyone not belonging to their crowd – and, especially, with the local black youngsters from the suburbs who are also present in the nights of Bairro Alto. Finally, this working paper remarks how the attitudes and behaviours of pub-crawl organizers and patrons often contribute towards socially and racially segmenting the Bairro Alto nightlife. The paper ends up by pointing out how the hedonist and joyful celebrations of cosmopolitanism of both pub-crawl organizers and their patrons serve as a ‘camouflage device’ for their active role in racializing the nightlife of this touristified historical neighborhood of Lisbon
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationPorto
PublisherInstituto de Sociologia da Universidade do Porto
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

Publication series

NameIS Working Paper
Volume3ª série
ISSN (Electronic)1647-9424


  • Vida noturna
  • Pub-crawl
  • Transgressão
  • Cosmopolitismo
  • Lisboa
  • Nightlife
  • Transgression
  • Cosmopolitanism
  • Lisbon


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