Walking on the rim: towards a geography of resentment
Cardullo, Paolo. 2012. Walking on the rim: towards a geography of resentment. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]
Abstract or Description
My research seeks to understand the complexity of East Greenwich residents' affective reactions at the moment when this landscape was undergoing a dramatic and rapid change. I walked its riverside to the Dome while this was turned from a mostly dismissed and derelict industrial land to a residential area ready to host parts of the Olympic Games. My starting point is that a process of gentrification with symbolic and material displacement of working-class people and their social practices has been occurring. Throughout my fieldwork, I constantly seek to understand the emotional reactions to this pervasive urban change from local residents, workers, and occasional passers-by who I met during the last five years. I have done this with the aid of my always obsolete digital camera and my walking boots, and applying photo elicitation technique whenever it was possible. The unique combination of photographs, walks, and interviews helped me to unpack, from the lower ground perspective of local working-class residents, their affective reactions to this peculiar change. Such an emplaced and class-based struggle opens to what I call the 'geography of resentment'. My hypothesis is that this resentment is a form of reaction against the symbolic violence that gentrification brings. The vehicle through which resentment is expressed is a form of remembering very close to nostalgia, which I decouple from both 'imperial melancholia' and 'hierarchical belonging'. Rather, I contend that this is a form of affective class struggle fought at the level of the symbolic. A debate remains open about the extent to which such controversial form of affection maintains distance from political instrumentalisation and mainstream discourses of communitarian cohesion, while at the same time reflecting the paradoxes of urban change.