From class to gentrification and back again

Benson, Michaela and Jackson, Emma. 2018. From class to gentrification and back again. In: , ed. The Handbook of Gentrification Studies. London: Edward Elgar, pp. 63-80. ISBN 9781785361739 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

In this chapter, we argue for the need to carefully scrutinise the models of class that underlie understandings of gentrification and how they are mobilised, while also introducing more recent considerations from the sociology of class that focus on values and classificatory struggles (Skeggs 1997, 2004; Tyler 2015) into the study of gentrification. Our contention is that when rethinking gentrification to account both for the specificity of different contexts around the world and to speak to a planetary gentrification that can account for very different social, economic and political histories, different registers and languages of gentrification (Lees et al. 2016), it is timely to revisit and revitalise the understandings of class that have underpinned this body of research. In many ways, what we present here is a logical extension of concerns that, as Lees at al. (2016) remind us, have long been at the heart of urban theory that warn against the ethnocentric imposition of theories developed in Western European industrialized economies onto the reality of urbanization in other economic and social systems. Simply put, we question the extent to which conceptualisations of class variously developed to explain 19th century labour relations and the class struggles emerging from industrialization (in Western European economies), and the manifestation of such relations of power through taste and consumption practices (cf. Bourdieu 1984), are fit to the purpose of critically analysing contemporary processes of gentrification the world over.

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27 April 2018Published

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Date Deposited:

21 Jun 2018 14:00

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12 Jun 2021 13:01


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