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Voices of the Banned: Emergent Causality and the Unforeseen Consequences of Patron Banning Policies

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In Western cities, public authorities are increasingly resorting to the use of patron banning orders as means of reducing alcohol and other drug-related harms in nightlife. While the use of banning orders is often hailed by authorities, due to their presumed deterrent and crime reduction effects, little research exists on how patrons react to being banned. This is a problem, as assessments of whether the policy goals of banning orders are being met and the wider consequences of banning necessitate understanding the practice from the perspective of its targets. This article combines statistical data from police registers and in-depth interviews with 10 young patrons who have been subjected to a 2-year banning order in Aalborg, Denmark, to explore how patrons experience and negotiate the banning orders imposed upon them. While police use of banning orders is often based on a conception of patrons as rational actors, as well as linear notions of cause and effect, this article challenges such conceptions. Instead, this article draws on actor network theory, and an understanding of banned youth as situated in networks of relations, in order to provide insights into how the effects of banning policies emerge in often unpredictable ways and with unforeseen consequences depending on the specific sociomaterial context through which they are coproduced. In this way, this article aims to provide a more detailed understanding of the causal mechanisms giving shape to banning policy effects.
TidsskriftContemporary Drug Problems
Sider (fra-til)15-32
Antal sider17
StatusUdgivet - 4 apr. 2018


  • Nightlife, Banning orders, Patron perspective, Actor network theory , Emergent causality, Unintended consequences

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