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Place and cultural identity in the segregated city

Nylund, Katarina LU (2000) In Finnish Journal of Urban Studies (Yhteiskuntasuunnittelu) 38(3). p.8-27
Abstract
A great deal of attention is currently being paid in urban sociology to the relationship between place and identity. The background to the growing interest in the identity development of individuals can be found in the radical changes the city is presently undergoing. These changes have often been described in terms of the dissolving city, a concept that not only refers to the continuing physical/functional decomposition that Italo Calvino so vividly outlines in the quotation above, but also to the city’s social and cultural disintegration.

My main concern is the impact the growing social polarisation and segregation will have in the long term on cultural hegemony and the potential to maintain a

democratic dialogue... (More)
A great deal of attention is currently being paid in urban sociology to the relationship between place and identity. The background to the growing interest in the identity development of individuals can be found in the radical changes the city is presently undergoing. These changes have often been described in terms of the dissolving city, a concept that not only refers to the continuing physical/functional decomposition that Italo Calvino so vividly outlines in the quotation above, but also to the city’s social and cultural disintegration.

My main concern is the impact the growing social polarisation and segregation will have in the long term on cultural hegemony and the potential to maintain a

democratic dialogue between different classes and sections of the population.

In penetrating this issue I will adopt as my point of departure the conceptual distinction between space and place, introduced in the urban theory in the 1980’s. The

concept of space is used as a relational category and refers to the general social powers that structure the development of society and its spatial expressions, while the concept of place is used as an existential category, constituting the background of human identity

development and action (Simonsen 1993, 75; see also Nylund 1999).

The dichotomy between space and place has the honourable purpose of counterbalancing the structuralist urban theory of the 1970’s by focusing on the agents and their

potential to interpret and change their own living conditions. In other words, the intention is to live up to the ambitious programme of critical theory, which states that the aim is both to criticise the existing society and point out potential for change.

However, neither the concept of place nor the concept of identity are unambiguous, and the thesis of “place constituting the background of human identity development”

consequently opens up many different and often contradictory interpretations.

Two main questions can be crystallised from the general discourse about place and identity. One focuses on the implications of globalisation, the other on marginalisation.

In the following, I will make a brief presentation of these partly separate discourses before returning to the epistemological question of the relationship between

place and identity. (Less)
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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
urban studies, marginalisation, segregation, globalisation, cultural identity
in
Finnish Journal of Urban Studies (Yhteiskuntasuunnittelu)
volume
38
issue
3
pages
8 - 27
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
11709c17-b72a-48e5-a7b2-7aab41b55b01 (old id 700340)
alternative location
http://www.yss.fi/Nylund.pdf
date added to LUP
2007-12-20 09:58:39
date last changed
2016-06-29 09:09:48
@article{11709c17-b72a-48e5-a7b2-7aab41b55b01,
  abstract     = {A great deal of attention is currently being paid in urban sociology to the relationship between place and identity. The background to the growing interest in the identity development of individuals can be found in the radical changes the city is presently undergoing. These changes have often been described in terms of the dissolving city, a concept that not only refers to the continuing physical/functional decomposition that Italo Calvino so vividly outlines in the quotation above, but also to the city’s social and cultural disintegration.<br/><br>
My main concern is the impact the growing social polarisation and segregation will have in the long term on cultural hegemony and the potential to maintain a<br/><br>
democratic dialogue between different classes and sections of the population.<br/><br>
In penetrating this issue I will adopt as my point of departure the conceptual distinction between space and place, introduced in the urban theory in the 1980’s. The<br/><br>
concept of space is used as a relational category and refers to the general social powers that structure the development of society and its spatial expressions, while the concept of place is used as an existential category, constituting the background of human identity<br/><br>
development and action (Simonsen 1993, 75; see also Nylund 1999).<br/><br>
The dichotomy between space and place has the honourable purpose of counterbalancing the structuralist urban theory of the 1970’s by focusing on the agents and their<br/><br>
potential to interpret and change their own living conditions. In other words, the intention is to live up to the ambitious programme of critical theory, which states that the aim is both to criticise the existing society and point out potential for change.<br/><br>
However, neither the concept of place nor the concept of identity are unambiguous, and the thesis of “place constituting the background of human identity development”<br/><br>
consequently opens up many different and often contradictory interpretations.<br/><br>
Two main questions can be crystallised from the general discourse about place and identity. One focuses on the implications of globalisation, the other on marginalisation.<br/><br>
In the following, I will make a brief presentation of these partly separate discourses before returning to the epistemological question of the relationship between<br/><br>
place and identity.},
  author       = {Nylund, Katarina},
  keyword      = {urban studies,marginalisation,segregation,globalisation,cultural identity},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {8--27},
  series       = {Finnish Journal of Urban Studies (Yhteiskuntasuunnittelu)},
  title        = {Place and cultural identity in the segregated city},
  volume       = {38},
  year         = {2000},
}