Gentrification and Globalization : the emergence of a middle range theory

7 décembre 2009

Gentrification and Globalization : the emergence of a middle range theory  by Tim Butler, King’s College London , RTN URBeurope

In this paper I argue that gentrification, despite the many arguments over its continuing validity as a concept, retains its key importance in understanding processes of class change. In some respects the concept has grown middle aged and become over endowed with its own history and I suggest that it needs to retain a focus on the implications of macro social change for individuals. In particular, gentrification needs to be decoupled from its original association with deindustrialization processes in metropolitan centres such as London and with its coupling to working class displacement. In recent times, gentrification has been identified with non metropolitan cities in countries such as Britain, capital and other major cities around the world and increasingly in rural locations. The recent interests in processes such as ‘gated communities’ and, to a lesser extent, studentification are part of the changed landscape of gentrification which I also propose is now occurring over huge regions dominated by global metropolises ; the influence of London over the southern half of England is a good example. In particular, I argue that gentrification provides a good example of a ‘middle range theory’ which is able to link global processes and flows to the construction of identities in particular localities. With the decline of social class as an overall explanation of cultural, social and spatial behaviour, this notion of gentrification as a form of ‘elective belonging’ has considerable potential of uniting geographical and sociological approaches to agency and structure. I illustrate this by drawing on three recent studies on the relationship between people and places. Downlaod Cahier N°14

Mise à jour: 30 août 2005.

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