Urban Nightlife, Urban Nightlife, 0813569389, 0-8135-6938-9, 978-0-8135-6938-3, 9780813569383, , , Urban Nightlife, 0813569397, 0-8135-6939-7, 978-0-8135-6939-0, 9780813569390, , , Urban Nightlife, 0813569400, 0-8135-6940-0, 978-0-8135-6940-6, 9780813569406, , , Urban Nightlife, 0813575680, 0-8135-7568-0, 978-0-8135-7568-1, 9780813575681,
Urban Nightlife

Entertaining Race, Class, and Culture in Public Space
Reuben A. Buford May (Author)
256 pages, 3 figures, 6 x 9
Paper, September 2014 $26.95   ADD TO CART
Cloth, September 2014 $80.00   ADD TO CART
Web PDF, September 2014 $26.95   EBOOK VERSION AVAILABLE
epub, September 2014 $26.95   EBOOK VERSION AVAILABLE
Subject Area:
Sociology, African American Studies


Sociologists have long been curious about the ways in which city dwellers negotiate urban public space. How do they manage myriad interactions in the shared spaces of the city? In Urban Nightlife, sociologist Reuben May undertakes a nuanced examination of urban nightlife, drawing on ethnographic data gathered in a Deep South college town to explore the question of how nighttime revelers negotiate urban public spaces as they go about meeting, socializing, and entertaining themselves. 

May’s work reveals how diverse partiers define these spaces, in particular the ongoing social conflict on the streets, in bars and nightclubs, and in the various public spaces of downtown. To explore this conflict, May develops the concept of “integrated segregation”—the idea that diverse groups are physically close to one another yet rarely have meaningful interactions—rather, they are socially bound to those of similar race, class, and cultural backgrounds. May’s in-depth research leads him to conclude that social tension is stubbornly persistent in part because many participants fail to make the connection between contemporary relations among different groups and the historical and institutional forces that perpetuate those very tensions; structural racism remains obscured by a superficial appearance of racial harmony.
Through May’s observations, Urban Nightlife clarifies the complexities of race, class, and culture in contemporary America, illustrating the direct influence of local government and nightclub management decision-making on interpersonal interaction among groups. 

Watch a video with Reuben A. Buford May:

Watch video now. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCs1xExStPw).


"Not only is May’s scholarship sound, his narrative style shines and his take on urban nightlife is fresh. Anyone interested in how segregation lives even in ostensibly integrated places should read this book."
—Frederick F. Wherry, Yale University

"Reuben A. Buford May's Urban Nightlife tells a nuanced story about racial interaction in public space that is rarely conveyed. Using the concept 'integrated segregation,' May's discussion of urban nightlife enhances our understanding of race, class, and culture in America."
—William Julius Wilson, Harvard University

"Readers and instructors alike will find the tone and writing of the book refreshingly clear and insightful … Drawing on a wonderful mix of ethnographic and interview data, May provides an innovative and necessary assessment of nightlife in urban America."
—American Journal of Sociology

"This ethnographic study of city public space within the context of 'race' and class, with its concomitant cultural realities, relates to the social interactions of those cultural groups that have historically been segregated at times in North American society. The city in question is undisclosed. What remains is a sociological insight into how public space is occupied and used in ways that allow different cultural groups to mix without mixing. Recommended."

"May's ethnographic writing is rich and engaging … The insighftul nature of his observations and the richness of his ethnographic work generates an interesting challenge for other scholars of the urban night to integrate this into their own work in the future."
—Urban Studies

Author / Editor Bio

REUBEN A. BUFORD MAY is a professor of sociology at Texas A & M University and a fellow at Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute. He is the author of Living Through the Hoop: High School Basketball, Race and the American Dream

Table Of Contents



1          Integrated-Segregation in Urban Nightlife

2          What Is Having Fun and Who Has It

3          Gendered Interaction, Caravanning Groups, and Social Boundaries

4          Is It a Blackout? Dress Codes in Urban Nightlife

5          Knockout: Verbal and Physical Confrontations

6          When Race Is Explicit

7          Having Fun in Black and White

Appendix A    A Brief History of Northeast

Appendix B    Methodology





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