This chapter introduces the third and final section of the book, entitled ‘Contemporary Contestations’. The concern here is to provide an account of licensing litigation which explains how we have come to have night-time cities that are dominated by branded bar chains and so-called ‘circuit drinking’. The adversarial nature of the licensing trial is emphasized and the chapter presents a typology of the various groups one encounters as participants to such proceedings, including residents and day-time businesses, alcohol campaigners and moral entrepreneurs, police licensing officers, applicants (including pub chain executives and independent entrepreneurs), their customers, competitors and wider industry lobby groups, local authorities, expert witnesses, and licensing consultants. The chapter describes the relative positioning and power bases of each group as players within a high stakes regulatory game.
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