The Biosecuritization of the Tourist City

Some Reflections from and about Lisbon Nightlife


  • Jordi Nofre NOVA University of Lisbon
  • Manuel Garcia-Ruiz Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL)
  • João Carlos Martins University of Algarve


COVID-19, biosecuritization, pandemic politics, tourist city, Lisbon


The impact of COVID-19 on tourism has been enormous across the globe. The successful recovery of the tourism industry at the local, national, and global levels is strictly dependent on the efficient contention and mitigation of the COVID-19 pandemic at the global level and on the capacity of tour operators, governments, and other actors to generate complete trust among tourists. In this article, we examine the biosecuritization of Lisbon (Portugal) and the efforts carried out by the administration to preserve the city as a COVID-free urban destination. In this sense, we will examine two main strategies that have received little attention from the scholarly community, namely (i) the strengthening of repressive, punitive, and criminalizing policies against suburban working-class youths ('the perilous') within the scope of guaranteeing a COVID-free city for tourists ('the untouchables'), and (ii) the (in)governance of the urban night of Lisbon during the current pandemic. In the last section, we will argue how mobility restrictions, lockdowns, and nighttime curfews have shown us how central culture, arts, entertainment, and leisure are for not only the cultural and social life of many young and adult people in Europe but also for their socio-emotional wellbeing.


“‘Lisboa ‘Acordou’ e Quer que Todos Saibam: Novo Vídeo Promove a Região”, Público, 20/06/2020. Retrieved from:

AHRESP (2019). “Boletim Informativo nº 33”, October 2017. Retrieved from:

Aramayona, Begoña and Jordi Nofre. 2021. "The City of (Dis-)Trust: Balconies, The Biopoliticised Self and The New Everyday Governmentality of The Public Space in Madrid in Times of COVID-19." Town Planning Review 92, no.2: 257-262.

Baekkeskov, Erik. 2022. "Pandemic Preparedness and Responses To The 2009 H1N1 Influenza: Crisis Management and Public Policy Insights." Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. Retrieved on 26 January 2022, from:


Barker, Kezia, Sarah L. Taylor and Andrew Dobson. 2013. “Introduction: Interrogating Bioinsecurities”. In Biosecurity: The Socio-Politics of Invasive Species and Infectious Diseases, edited by Andrew Dobson, Kezia Barker and Sarah L. Taylor, pp. 3-28. London: Routledge.

BBC News. (2021). "COVID: UK Clubbers Return To Liverpool For Trial Night", BBC News, April 30, 2021. Retrieved from:

Behr, Adam, Matt Brennan and Martin Cloonan. 2014. The Cultural Value of Live Music From The Pub To The Stadium. Getting Beyond The Numbers. Glasgow, UK: University of Gasglow.

Benítez-Aurioles, Beatriz. 2020. "Tourism Resilience Patterns in Southern Europe." Tourism Analysis 25, no. 4: 409-424.

Bens, Jonas and Larissa Vetters. 2018. “Ethnographic Legal Studies: Reconnecting Anthropological and Sociological Traditions.” The Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law, 50, no. 3: 239-254.

Brajša-Žganec, Andreja, Marina Merkaš and Iva Šverko. 2011. "Quality of Life and Leisure Activities: How Do Leisure Activities Contribute To Subjective Wellbeing?." Social Indicators Research 102, no. 1: 81-91.

Brown, Jennifer L., Ronald MacDonald and Richard Mitchell. 2015. "Are People Who Participate in Cultural Activities More Satisfied with Life?." Social Indicators Research 122, no.1: 135-146.

Carmo, Renato, Rita Cachado and Daniela Ferreira. 2015. “Desigualdades Em Tempos de Crise: Vulnerabilidades Habitacionais e Socioeconómicas na Área Metropolitana De Lisboa.” Revista Portuguesa de Estudos Regionais 40, no. 1: 5-22.

Carspecken, Francis Phil. 1996. Critical Ethnography in Educational Research A Theoretical and Practical Guide. New York: Routledge

Chebli, Amina and Foued Ben Said. 2020. "The Impact of COVID-19 on Tourist Consumption Behaviour: A Perspective Article". Journal of Tourism Management Research 7, no..2: 196-207.

Cheepsattayakorn, Attapon, Ruangrong Cheepsattayakorn, and Porntep Siriwanarangsun. 2021. "New Waves of COVID-19 in Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar." American Journal of Internal Medicine 9, no.3: 114-120.

Costa, Luís. 2016. ¡Bacalao!: Historia Oral de la Música de Baile En Valencia, 1980-1995. Barcelona, Spain: Contraediciones.

Cushman, Grant and Allan Laidler. 1990. Recreation Leisure And Social Policy. Occassional Paper No. 4. Canterbury & Wellington, New Zealand: Lincoln University & Victoria University. Retrieved from:

DeHart, Monica. 2020. "Thinking Ethnographically in Pandemic Times." Items Insights From The Social Sciences, 21/05/2020. Retrieved from:

Dionne, Kim Yi, and Fulya Felicity Turkmen. 2020. "The Politics of Pandemic Othering: Putting COVID-19 in Global and Historical Context." International Organization 74, no.51: E23-E30.

Donaldson, Andrew. 2008. "Biosecurity After The Event: Risk Politics and Animal Disease." Environment and Planning A 40, no.7: 1552-1567.

Donnelly, Peter and Jay J. Coakley. 2002. The Role of Recreation in Promoting Social Inclusion. Toronto, Canada: Laidlaw Foundation.

"Dutch Researchers Test Ways To Party During the Pandemic", DWDW, March 20, 2021. Retrieved from:

Esparch, Pau. 2020. "No COVID Infections At The Experimental Concert At Sala Apolo", Ara, December 30, 2020. Retrieved from:

European Travel Commission. 2020. "European Travel Commission Quarterly Report 3/2020." Retrieved from:

Farmer, Paul. 1996. "Social Inequalities and Emerging Infectious Diseases." Emerging Infection Diseases 2, no.4: 259–269. Retrieved from:

Filmer, Paul. 1999. "Embodiment and Civility in Early Modernity: Aspects of Relations Between Dance, The Body and Sociocultural Change." Body & Society 5, no. 1: 1-16.

Foucault, Michel. 2007. Security, Territory, Population: Lectures At The Collège De France, 1977-78. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

García-Ruiz, Manuel, Iñigo Sánchez-Fuarros, João Carlos Martins, Cristina Vale Pires and Jordi Nofre. 2021. "Governing The Night in Post-COVID-19 Lisbon: Challenges, Opportunities, and Uncertainties". In Global Reflections on COVID-19 and Urban Inequalities, edited by Brian Doucet, Rianne van Melik, Pierre Filion, pp. 47-58. Bristol, UK: Policy Press.

Government of Portugal. 2020. “Conta Satélite do Turismo para Portugal.” Retrieved from :

Grondeau, Alexandre, and Gwenaëlle Dourthe. 2020. “Approches Géographiques de la Nuit Urbaine Libre et Festive. Les Free Parties et les Zones Autonomes Temporaires (TAZ) Comme Alternative à la Ségrégation et aux Inégalités Territoriales Nocturnes.” Émulations, 33. Online.

Han, Ji‐Sook, and Ian Patterson. 2007. “An Analysis of The Influence That Leisure Experiences Have on a Person's Mood State, Health and Wellbeing.” Annals of Leisure Research 10 no. 3-4: 328-351.

Hannam, K. and Roy, S. 2013. “Cultural Tourism and The Mobilities Paradigm.” In The Routledge Handbook of Cultural Tourism, edited by Melanie K. Smith and Greg Richards, pp. 141-147. New York: Routledge

Haslam, Dave. 2015. Life After Dark: A History of British Nightclubs & Music Venues. London, UK: Simon and Schuster.

Herrick, Clare. 2016. "Global Hhealth, Geographical Contingency, and Contingent Geographies." Annals of the American Association of Geographers 106, no 3: 672-687.

Hewlett, Barry S. and Bonnie L. Hewlett. 2007. Ebola, Culture and Politics: The Anthropology of an Emerging Disease. Belmont, CA: Thomson Higher Education.

Hine, C. (2015). Ethnography For The Internet Embedded, Embodied and Everyday. London, UK: Bloomsbury.

INE. 2021a. “Estatísticas do Turismo: 2020.” Lisbon, Portugal: National Institute of Statistics. Retrived from:

INE 2021b. “Especial INE COVID-19”. Lisbon, Portugal: National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved from:

Ingram, Alan. 2005. "The New Geopolitics of Disease: Between Global Health and Global Security." Geopolitics 10, no. 3: 522–45.

John, Henry R. L. 2015. "UK Rave Culture and The Thatcherite Hegemony, 1988–94." Cultural History 4, no.2: 162-186.

Keck, Frédéric, Ann H. Kelly and Christos Lynteris, Christos. 2019. “Introduction: The Anthropology of Epidemics.” In The Anthropology Of Epidemics, edited by Frédéric Keck and Christos Lynteris, pp. 1-24. New York: Routledge.

Laughey, Dan. 2006. Music And Youth Culture. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press.

Lawrence, Tim. 2011. "Disco and The Queering of The Dance Floor." Cultural Studies 25, no.2: 230-243.

Lusa. 2020a. “‘As Pessoas Têm de Começar a Comportar-se Melhor’. Protecção Civil de Setúbal Acusa Jovens de Propagarem COVID-19 no Concelho”, Público, July 13, 2020. Retrieved from:

Lusa. 2020b. “Empresários do Bairro Alto Querem Esplanadas para que as Ruas Voltem a Ter Vida”, Observador, 20/06/2020. Retrieved from:

Lusa. 2020c. “COVID-19: Reabertura de Bares e Discotecas Pode Ser Solução para Ajuntamentos”, Sábado, June 23, 2020. Retrieved from:

Malheiro, João. 2021. “Associação Alerta. 60% Das Discotecas Já Não Vão Reabrir”, Rádio Renascença, September 15, 2021. Retrieved from:

Malheiros, Jorge M. and Francisco Vala. 2004. "Immigration and City Change: The Lisbon Metropolis At The Turn of The Twentieth Century." Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 30, no. 6: 1065-1086.

Malheiros, Jorge, Bárbara Ferreira, Marina Carreiras, Anselmo Amilcar and Rita Raposo. 2016. “Vulnerabilidade e Integração Urbana em Bairros de Habitação Social da Grande Lisboa: Uma Aproximação Conceptual e Empírica.” Revista Espaço e Geografia 19, no.1: 185-237. Retrieved from:

Malhotra, Mukta. 2021. "Paradigm Shift in The Global Hospitality Industry: Impact of Pandemic COVID-19." International Journal on Recent Trends in Business and Tourism 5, no.1: 30-32. Retrieved from:

Marques Pereira, Andreia. 2020. “ Portugal Prepara-se para Ir ‘Para Fora Cá Dentro’”, Publico, 16/05/2020. Retrieved from:

Melly, Domhnall, and James Hanrahan. 2020. "Tourism Biosecurity Risk Management and Planning: An International Comparative Analysis and Implications for Ireland." Tourism Review 76, no. 1: 88-102.

Mendes, Luís. 2020. “Lutas Urbanas Pelo Direito à Habitação em Lisboa em Tempos De Pandemia”. Cadernos Metrópole 23: 203-232.

Murillo-Llorente, Maria Teresa, and Marcelino Perez-Bermejo. 2020. "COVID-19: Social Irresponsibility of Teenagers Towards The Second Wave in Spain." Journal of Epidemiology 30, no.10: 483.

Nagata, Shohei, Tomoki Nakaya, Yu Adachi, Toru Inamori, Kazuto Nakamura, Dai Arima and Hiroshi Nishiura. 2021. "Mobility Change and COVID-19 in Japan: Mobile Data Analysis of Locations of Infection." Journal of Epidemiology 31, no.6: 387-291.

Nofre, Jordi, João Carlos Martins, Domingos Vaz, Rosa Fina, Jorge Sequera, and Patrícia Vale. 2019. “The ‘Pink Street’ in Cais do Sodré: Urban Change and Liminal Governance in a Nightlife District of Lisbon.” Urban Research & Practice 12, no.4: 322-340.

Nofre, Jordi, Manuel Garcia-Ruiz, Iñigo Sánchez Fuarros and Cristiana Vale Pires. 2020. “Hopes and Uncertainties in The Nightlife Industry of Post-COVID-19 Europe.” Finisterra 115: 249-254.

Nofre, Jordi. 2013. "Vintage Nightlife: Gentrifying Lisbon Downtown." Fennia: International Journal of Geography 191, no.2: 106-127.

Nofre, Jordi. 2015. “Barcelona de Noche: Unas Primeras Notas sobre Geopolítica de la Higienización Social, Moral y Política de la Ciudad Neoliberal”. Working Papers of the Institute of Sociology, University of Porto 3, no.3: 1-25. Retrieved from:

Nofre, Jordi. 2021. "Nightlife as Source of Social Wellbeing, Community-Building and Psychological Mutual Support After COVID-19 Pandemic." Annals of Leisure Research.

Nunes, Catarina. 2020. “O Melhor da Quarentena? O Silêncio”, Expresso, April 25, 2020. Retrieved from:

Observador. 2020. “COVID-19. Câmara de Lisboa Aprova Moção para Estudar Reabertura das Discotecas”, Observador, July 02, 2020. Retrieved from:

Oldebourg, Ray. 1989. The Great Good Place. Cafés, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons and Other Hangouts at The Heart of The Community. Manchester, UK: Paragon House.

Otter, Saffron. 2021. "Thousands to Attend a Nightclub for the First Time in Over A Year Tonight", Manchester Evening News, 30/04/2021. Retrieved from:

Pato, Isabel and Margarida Pereira. 2016. "Austerity and (New) Limits of Segregation in Housing Policies: The Portuguese Case." International Journal of Housing Policy 16, no.4: 524-542.

Pérez, Beatriz. 2021.“Sitges Pasa la Prueba Piloto del Ocio Nocturno”, El Periódico de Catalunya, 21/05/2021. Retrieved from:

Perles-Ribes, José Francisco, Ana Belén Ramón-Rodríguez, Antonio Rubia and Luis Moreno-Izquierdo. 2017. “Is The Tourism-led Growth Hypothesis Valid After The Global Economic and Financial Crisis? The Case of Spain 1957–2014.” Tourism Management 61: 96-109.

PORDATA. 2021. "Employed Population: Total and by Sector of Economic Activity. Accommodation, Hospitality and Similar." Contemporary Portugal Database. Retrieved from:

Portugal's Recovery and Resilience Plan. 2021. Lisbon: Government of Portugal

PSE. 2020. "Portuguese Night Confinement is Between 85% and 90%". Retrieved from:

Rainho, Pedro. 2020. “Álcool, Ajuntamentos e Multas Pesadas. Nas Ruas de um Concelho Quente da Pandemia”, Visão, 10/07/2020. Retrieved from:

Raposo, Rita. 2006. "Gated Communities, Commodification and Aestheticization: The Case of The Lisbon Metropolitan Area." GeoJournal 66, no.1: 43-56.

Reason, Matthew and Beatriz García. 2007. “Approaches to The Newspaper Archive: Content Analysis and Press Coverage of Glasgow’s Year of Culture.” Media, Culture & Society 29, no.2: 304-331.

Rispal, Martine Hlady, and Jerome Boncler. 2010. "Social Entrepreneurship in France: Organizational and Relational Issues." In Handbook of Research on Social Entrepreneurship, edited by Alain, pp. 109-124. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Roberts, Ken. 2006. Leisure in Contemporary Society. Oxfordshire, UK: Cabi Publishing.

Ruel Robins, Marianne. 2013. “’I Wonder Why It Is that I Cannot Dance’. Early-Modern French Suggestions for Bernard Roussel”. In Bible, Histoire et Société: Mélanges Offerts à Bernard Roussel, edited by Robert Gerald Hobbs, and Bernard Roussel, pp. 369-382. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols. (2020). "Transportes Públicos, Casas Sobrelotadas e Ajuntamentos: A Que Se Deve o Aumento de Casos na Grande Lisboa?", Executive Digest,, June 22, 2020. Retrieved from:

Sequera, Jorge and Jordi Nofre. 2020. "Touristification, Transnational Gentrification and Urban Change in Lisbon: The Neighbourhood of Alfama." Urban Studies 57, no. 15: 3169-3189..

Shaw, Robert. 2018. The Nocturnal City. London: Routledge.

Shin, Kyulee, and Sukkyung You. 2013. "Leisure Type, Leisure Satisfaction and Adolescents' Psychological Wellbeing." Journal of Pacific Rim Psychology 7, no. 2: 53-62.

Stellmach, Darryl, Isabel Beshar, Juliet Bedford, Philipp du Cros and Beverley Stringer. 2018. "Anthropology in Public Health Emergencies: What Is Anthropology Good For?." BMJ Global Health 3: e000534.

Strategic Plan for Tourism in the Lisbon Region 2020-2014. Lisbon, Portugal: Entidade Regional de Turismo da Região de Lisboa, and Turismo de Lisboa, 2019.

Takaya, S., S. Tsuzuk, K. Hayakawa, A. Kawashima, A. Okuhama et al. 2020. "Nightlife Clusters of Coronavirus Disease in Tokyo Between March and April 2020." Epidemiology & Infection, 148: e250.

Throsby, David and Anita Zednik. 2014. "The Economic and Cultural Value of Paintings: Some Empirical Evidence." In Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture (Vol. 2), edited by Victor A. Ginsburgh and David Throsby, pp. 81-99. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier.

United Nations. 2020. "Policy Brief: COVID-19 and Transforming Tourism." Retrieved from:

UNWTO (2020a). Tourism and COVID-19 – Unprecedented Economic Impacts. Retrieved from:

UNWTO (2020b). Supporting Jobs and Economies Through Travel and Tourism. A Call for Action to Mitigate the Socioeconomic Impact of COVID-19 and Accelerate Recovery. Spain: Madrid.

UNWTO (2020c). Global Guidelines to Restart Tourism. Madrid, Spain: UNWTO.

UNWTO (2021). UNWTO World Tourism Barometer 19, no.2.

van der Hoeven, Arno, and Erik Hitters. 2019. "The Social and Cultural Values of Live Music: Sustaining Urban Live Music Ecologies." Cities, 90: 263-271.

Vargas, A. 2020, "COVID-19 Crisis: A New Model of Tourism Governance For a New Time." Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes 12, no. 6: 691-699.

Young, Rowena. 2006. "For What It Is Worth: Social Value and the Future of Social Entrepreneurship." In Social Entrepreneurship: New Models of Sustainable Social Change, edited by Alex Nicholis, pp. 56-73. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.




How to Cite

Nofre, J., Garcia-Ruiz, M., & Martins, J. C. (2023). The Biosecuritization of the Tourist City: Some Reflections from and about Lisbon Nightlife. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 22(2), 992–1014. Retrieved from