Place-making and place maintenance: performativity, place and belonging among the middle classes

Benson, M. and Jackson, E. (2013) Place-making and place maintenance: performativity, place and belonging among the middle classes. Sociology, 47(4), pp. 793-809. (doi: 10.1177/0038038512454350)

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This article introduces performativity and processes of place-making into discussions about middle-class residents’ place attachments. It draws on interviews with middle-class residents in two different London neighbourhoods, Peckham (inner urban, socially mixed) and West Horsley and Effingham (commuter belt villages), to argue that (1) the practice of place is key to understanding middle-class claims to belonging; and (2) ways of ‘doing’ neighbourhood must be understood within the context of other circulating representations. While respondents in Peckham work with or against prevailing discourses about their neighbourhood as they perform place, in the commuter belt, residents strive to uphold the image of their village as the rural idyll, a classed and racialised vision. The contrast between the inner city and commuter belt reveals the different performative registers through which place is practised; while in Peckham middle-class residents invest in processes of place-making, respondents in the commuter belt engage instead in active processes of place maintenance.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Jackson, Dr Emma
Authors: Benson, M., and Jackson, E.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
Journal Name:Sociology
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN (Online):1469-8684
Published Online:28 December 2012

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