On the Make: The Hustle of Urban Nightlife

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Overview

It's nighttime in the city and everybody's working a hustle. Winking bartenders and smiling waitresses flirt their way to bigger tips. Hostesses and bouncers hit up the crowd of would-be customers for bribes. And on the other side of the velvet rope, single men and women are on a perpetual hunt to score-or at least pick up a phone number. Every night of the week they all play the same game, relentlessly competing for money, sex, self-esteem, and status.

David Grazian's riveting tour of downtown Philadelphia and its newly bustling nightlife scene reveals the city as an urban playground where everyone dabbles in games of chance and perpetrates elaborate cons. Entertainment in the city has evolved into a professional industry replete with set designers, stage directors, and method actors whose dazzling illusions tempt even the shrewdest of customers. Public relations consultants, event planners, and a new breed of urban hustler-the so-called "reality marketer" who gets paid to party-all walk a fine line between spinning hype and outright duplicity. For the young and affluent, nightlife is a sport-a combative game of deception and risk complete with pregame drinking rituals and trendy uniforms. They navigate the dangers and delights of the city with a combination of wide-eyed optimism and streetwise savvy, drawing from their own bag of tricks that include everything from the right makeup and costume to fake IDs, counterfeit phone numbers, and wingmen.

As entertaining and illuminating as the confessional stories it recounts, David Grazian's On the Make is a fascinating exposé of the smoke and mirrors employed in the city at night.
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Editorial Reviews

Playboy
A dazzling and sometimes disturbing portrait of young adults in the urban glamour zone. No other book reveals as much about sex, drugs and money off campus.”

— Eric Klinenberg

Toronto Star
[A] creepily fascinating study of the industry and rituals of the Philadelphia club scene. . . . [Grazian] has a keen eye for the deceptive interplay between the real and ideal.

— Ryan Bigge

Choice
“Grazian offers an unflinching portrait of urban nightlife as a series of hustles. . . . A smart piece of urban sociology as well as a sobering existential comment on the contemporary commodification of the self.”—Choice
American Journal of Sociology
This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the rhythms and beats of nightlife in the metropolis. It is in the best tradition of modernist ethnography and could be used as an exemplar for courses on qualitative methods, urban sociology, social interaction, and consumerist or class culture. Much like the fine-dining experiences Grazian describes, this book should be savored, devoured, and accompanied with a bottle of wine. . . . It is a scrumptious read.

— Patrica A. Adler and Peter Adler

Canadian Journal of Sociology
The data are rich and compelling. As a tour guide, Grazian’s account of Philadelphia’s nightlife is vivid and well organized. . . . On the Make is mot just readable but riveting. It is an exceptional piece of sociology in the finest traditions of qualitative analysis.

— Georgie S. Rigakos

Richard Florida
“If you want to understand the contemporary city, you have to look beyond the office towers and real estate developments to the city at night. Too long ignored, the city at night is a multi-billion dollar industry, a large-scale mating market, and a way station for our ever-extending adolescence. David Grazian takes us on a backstage tour of the ritualistic games, hustlers and attempted hookups, and enduring stories and myths that define the city at night. This book takes nightlife out of the shadows and shows how it is a core concern for understanding the economy and sociology of the modern city.”
Joshua Gamson
"Reading On the Make is like going out on the town with a most amiable, clever, fluent companion—who seems to know everyone you run into. Grazian introduces you to the myriad people who run the Philadelphia scene, and to the affluent young nighttime scenesters; he chats them up and then subjects their complex games of class, gender, and sexual performance to his smart, edgy analysis. The result is at once sobering and drunken fun."
Peter Bearman
On the Make is where the action is. The settings are the cool bars and restaurants of the big city where adults pretend they look like kids, kids act out being adults, and masters of entertainment create exclusive scenes available to everyone. Drawing from hundreds of stories and years of fieldwork, David Grazian reveals how scenes are made, how the ‘girl-hunt’ works (not) and why some boys like coconut shampoo. Along the way, Grazian is revealed to be a brilliant ethnographer and an imaginative writer.”
Playboy - Eric Klinenberg
“A dazzling and sometimes disturbing portrait of young adults in the urban glamour zone. No other book reveals as much about sex, drugs and money off campus.”
Toronto Star - Ryan Bigge
"[A] creepily fascinating study of the industry and rituals of the Philadelphia club scene. . . . [Grazian] has a keen eye for the deceptive interplay between the real and ideal."
American Journal of Sociology - Patrica A. Adler and Peter Adler
“This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the rhythms and beats of nightlife in the metropolis. It is in the best tradition of modernist ethnography and could be used as an exemplar for courses on qualitative methods, urban sociology, social interaction, and consumerist or class culture. Much like the fine-dining experiences Grazian describes, this book should be savored, devoured, and accompanied with a bottle of wine. . . . It is a scrumptious read."
Canadian Journal of Sociology - Georgie S. Rigakos
“The data are rich and compelling. As a tour guide, Grazian’s account of Philadelphia’s nightlife is vivid and well organized. . . . On the Make is mot just readable but riveting. It is an exceptional piece of sociology in the finest traditions of qualitative analysis."
Playboy
"A dazzling and sometimes disturbing portrait of young adults in the urban glamour zone. No other book reveals as much about sex, drugs and money off campus."-Eric Klinenberg, Playboy

— Eric Klinenberg

Toronto Star
"[A] creepily fascinating study of the industry and rituals of the Philadelphia club scene. . . . [Grazian] has a keen eye for the deceptive interplay between the real and ideal."-Toronto Star

— Ryan Bigge

Choice
"Grazian offers an unflinching portrait of urban nightlife as a series of hustles. . . . A smart piece of urban sociology as well as a sobering existential comment on the contemporary commodification of the self."--Choice
American Journal of Sociology
"This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the rhythms and beats of nightlife in the metropolis. It is in the best tradition of modernist ethnography and could be used as an exemplar for courses on qualitative methods, urban sociology, social interaction, and consumerist or class culture.Much like the fine-dining experiences Grazian describes, this book should be savored, devoured, and accompanied with a bottle of wine. . . . It is a scrunptious read."

— Patrica A. Adler and Peter Adler

Canadian Journal of Sociology
"The data are rich and compelling. As a tour guide, Grazian's account of Philadelphia's nightlife is vivid and well organized. . . . On the Make is mot just readable but riveting. It is an exceptional piece of sociology in the finest traditions of qualitative analysis."

— Georgie S. Rigakos

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226305677
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2007
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

David Grazian is associate professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of Blue Chicago: The Search for Authenticity in Urban Blues Clubs, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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Table of Contents

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