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Regenerating public life? : a sensuous comparison of Barcelona and Manchester

This study examines the social production of regenerated public places through the prism of the senses in two marginal city centre neighbourhoods: Castlefield in Manchester and el Raval in Barcelona. By combining ethnographic research with social theoretical frameworks it compares how a global process such as regeneration transforms the sensuous mapping of public places and how this refracts on the public life of the area. This `global ethnography' focuses on the processes and spatial practices embodied in both the production and daily use of these new public spaces, coupled with conceptions of `officials' and `users': planners, politicians, established residents, new residents, shop-owners, tourists, and so forth. The first part of the thesis theorises current developments in the spatial re-structuring of cities and analyses regeneration practices and conceptualisations. It is argued that new regeneratedp ublic spacesa nd emerging public lives must be assessedb y analysing their sensuously experienced `publicity'. A theoretical framework is developed, shaped by the concept of `socially embedded aesthetics', which examines how power relations in public places are constituted by, exercised through and embedded in the sensuous geography of place. In the second part of the thesis this conceptual framework is applied to both case studies. By analysing the social production of regenerated public spaces through Lefebvre's (1991) trialectics of the perceived, conceived and lived, a multi-layered analysis into the lived experience of regeneration by the different parties involved is provided. The thesis describes the effect that sensuous regimes have on exclusion and inclusion of particular social groups, meanings and practices in public space and life. It shows how sensuous transformations entail complex reinventions of public life, expressed through new spatial configurations and connected spatial contestations. Regeneration is portrayed as a process negotiated in daily practices and, while hegemonic forces aim at regulating public life, different user practices appropriate, divert or subvert imposed meanings through a variety of ways.
Date January 2001
CreatorsDegen, Monica Montserrat
PublisherLancaster University
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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