Pub crawls at a Bulgarian nightlife resort: A case study using crowd theory

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Drawing on the classical crowd theories of Tarde, Le Bon, Durkheim, and Canetti, this article examines pub crawl crowds at the Bulgarian nightlife resort, Sunny Beach. The article argues that there are elements in classical crowd theory which can be used to advance the current research on tourist crowds such as those at pub crawls. The main strength of the theories lies in their ability to bring us close to crowd dynamics in their lived immediacy: the flow of emotions, collective attunement, the role of guides, and patterns of destruction—these are some of the issues that the theories can help us to understand. A major weakness of the theories is that they exaggerate the irrationality of crowds while neglecting the background conditions of crowd activities. The article is based on fieldwork among Danish tourists and guides in Sunny Beach. The key data come from 45 in-depth interviews and observations of 14 pub crawls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-299
Number of pages17
JournalTourist Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Sociology

Free keywords

  • affect
  • alcohol
  • crowd theory
  • ethnography
  • ritual
  • tourism
  • youth


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