1st Edition

The Rise and Rise of Illegal Ticket Touting An Ethnography of Deviant Entrepreneurship

By Alessandro Moretti Copyright 2023
    294 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book presents an ethnographic study of contemporary ticket touts in the UK. Despite the recent interest in the topic of black-market ticket sales, media coverage and parliamentary interventions over the last ten years have revealed a widespread lack of knowledge with regard to the phenomenon of touting and the players engaging in the practice. The Rise and Rise of Illegal Ticket Touting sheds light on the world of touting and delivers an authentic picture of the individuals involved, of their methods, values, and motivations for performing ticket touting as an organised, entrepreneurial deviant activity.

    The touts’ varied methods of buying and selling tickets, the hierarchical structures and strict ethos of their criminal organisations, and their specific modi operandi for evading detection and arrest both on the streets and online are focal points of the study. Of equal importance are the touts’ attitudes, perceptions, and adaptations to (or outright dismissal of) society’s legal and moral frameworks. This book illuminates why historic and renewed attempts to challenge ticket touting have been unsuccessful, focusing on inadequate legislation, a lack of enforcement, and the widespread corruption and exploitable loopholes that exist within the official, primary ticket market.

    An accessible and compelling read, The Rise and Rise of Illegal Ticket Touting will appeal to students and scholars of criminology, sociology, social policy, policing and all those with an interest in live music and sport and the hidden practices that lurk beneath the surface.

    1 “A broadband connection and some guile and off you go”: Introduction  2 The deviant entrepreneur, exploring economic opportunities in the “zones of ambiguity”: Literature review  3 “You will receive your money as promised. Don’t even begin to think it’s okay to threaten me”: Methodology  4 “It’s who you know, not what you know”: How touts buy and sell tickets  5 A categorisation of touts: The scale of deviousness  6 “I was arrested, banned, and received a fine of £1,000 – the best thing that ever happened to me”: The art of street touting  7 A case study of an online tout: The “glory days” and the future  8 “Why is it legal when Ticketmaster does it?”: Non-deviant identity formulation through techniques of neutralisation  9 When a ticket is available on Viagogo the “damage” has already been done: Conclusion


    Alessandro Moretti is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Centre for Global Criminology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

    Alessandro Moretti has arrived as a true breath of fresh air and a vital new voice in criminology. ‘The Rise and Rise…’ is quite simply a stunning book. Moretti takes the reader on an ethnographic journey into the secretive world of deviant ticket sellers, brilliantly capturing the nuances and complexities surrounding debates on touting, but also showing us so much more. Highlighting the spectrum of conflicting interests that characterise the phenomenon of selling tickets for profit and the responses to it, Moretti introduces a rich ensemble of characters and practices that rejuvenate criminology and the sociological study of enterprise and deviance. Reminiscent of the very best work of the likes of Dick Hobbs, Gary Armstrong and Patricia Adler, this is a book that anyone interested in criminology, sport, music or life in general ought to read. A sociological masterpiece that is no doubt destined to be regarded a classic. This book is so needed. Doing an ethnography well with something new is a rare thing, and it makes me green with envy.

    James Treadwell, Professor in Criminology at Staffordshire University, UK

    "Moretti’s book is both an excellent criminological ethnography and a direct challenge to artists, politicians and associated stakeholders who for too long have publicly decried ticket touting while condoning these activities in private. This book should be essential reading for scholars interested in illicit enterprise and ethnography and, perhaps, for those in the live events industry who want to take meaningful action against touting. Do not hold your breath on the latter."

    Xavier D. L’Hoiry, Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Social Policy, University of Sheffield, British Journal of Criminology