Jackson P, 1991, "Mapping meanings: a cultural critique of locality studies" Environment and Planning A 23(2) 215 – 228
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Mapping meanings: a cultural critique of locality studies
Received 25 February 1990; in revised form 27 March 1990
Abstract. Much of the recent `locality studies' literature suffers from a poorly theorised conception of the cultural dimensions of social and economic change. Despite frequent references to political cultures, regional traditions, and local loyalties, the emphasis of most 'locality studies' has been on questions of employment, spatial divisions of labour, and the geography of production, specified in terms of local labour markets. There has been some discussion of the social definition of skill, the meaning of 'work', and the intersection of class and gender relations in particular places at specific times. But the significance of local cultures has been much less carefully theorised, leading to an unnecessarily truncated analysis of urban and regional change. The author suggests some alternative theorisations of 'local culture', drawing on concepts of cultural politics (from Stuart Hall), structures of feeling (Raymond Williams), cultural capital (Pierre Bourdieu) and local knowledge (Clifford Geertz). These notions are then applied to the process of arts-related urban reinvestment, and it is concluded that the field of urban and regional studies has much to gain from a more sophisticated understanding of cultural change.
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