‘Revisiting Gentrification: A working-class perspective’ This year’s BSA Cities and Mobilities annual conference walk

The British Sociological Association Cities and Mobilities group are running the following walking tour as part of their 2019 annual conference programme. The walk is free but booking is essential. You can book here.

This walk sees Kirsteen Paton return to the neighbourhood of Partick, 10 years after her ethnographic fieldwork for Gentrification: a Working Class Perspective to retrace the stories and lives of local residents.

Partick is a formerly industrial and traditionally working-class neighbourhood, straddled bythe Glasgow Harbour, an urban regeneration development of former shipyards, docks, and granaries on the banks of the River Clyde,and Glasgow’s affluent West End.  The study, in collaboration with local anti-poverty charity WestGAP, explored the complex role of gentrification in urban regeneration processes in post-industrial neighbourhoods and how class restructuring and urban restructuring processes are intimately interlinked, all from the perspective of the working class, an oft overlooked perspective in gentrification studies.

On this walk Kirsteen will reanimate the stories from local Partick residents as they negotiated gentrification in their neighbourhood, walking through and seeing gentrification as it was lived with.  The walk will also be an active research enquiry to observe the changes which have since taken place in the neighbourhood and see the long shadow cast by not only the Glasgow Harbour development, but the financial crisis and austerity which stalled further gentrification and retracted welfare protections even further.

The walk will take no more than 2 hours, returning to the conference for lunch time, and involve travel via subway to Partick (not wheelchair accessible). To discuss a wheelchair accessible meeting point or access on the route please contact kirsteen.paton@liv.ac.uk.

For some background reading see here

A free report version of the research study here

This walk is free but donations to WestGAPare welcomed https://westgap.co.uk/donate/

Photo courtesy of Stuart Wood 1500 Photography


Writing the Migrant City

We are delighted to confirm that the BSA Cities, Mobilities, Place and Space Plenary at the BSA annual conference will be given by Les Back, Charlynne Bryan and Shamser Sinha. This takes place on Thursday 25thApril in Room W622, at 9.30am.

In this session Professor Les Back and Dr Shamser Sinha reflect with participant author Charlynne Bryan on the writing of their book Migrant City (Routledge 2018).  A ten-year study of the migrant experience in London, the book operates within model of sociable sociology where dialogue with participants is followed through to analysis and authorship. The session will explore the critique of anti-immigrant times that emerged through the project and also a reflection on the methodological issues its raises and its experiment with a different mode of authorship.

Les Back teaches sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London.  His work attempts to create a sensuous or live sociology committed to searching for new modes of sociological writing and representation. This approach is outlined in his book The Art of Listening (Berg 2007) and the co-authored book Migrant City (Routledge, 2018), which attempts to extend this approach in a more collaborative direction. He also writes journalism and has made documentary films.

Charlynne Bryan is a primary school teacher and a poet at heart. She has recently published a book of poetry titled ‘Dear fat girl: you are not broken‘ which explores the topic of self-acceptance, hope, rising above the odds and being great! Charlynne is an avid creative who also runs poetry workshops that occasionally combines poetry and art, where people explore how their lives are shaped by their experiences. Dear fat girl is available to purchase on Amazon.

Shamser Sinha is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Youth Studies at the University of Suffolk. His research and teaching interests circle around; ‘race’ and racism; youth; and different ways of doing ethnography. He has done lots of work with unaccompanied and separated young people seeking asylum. His epistemological and methodological work explores how researchers can widen their insight beyond the questions we think of asking participants by inviting them in to the collection, analysis and production of outputs. He is also a professional playwright outside of his university work.


Call for abstracts: BSA annual conference 2019

The call for abstracts for the BSA annual conference 2019 (Caledonian University- Challenging Social Hierarchies and Inequalities) is now open for submissions.
We would like to encourage you to submit your abstracts to the Cities, Mobilities, Spaces and Places stream.

While considering any abstract that relates to our stream, we would be particularly interested in submissions on the following themes:

– challenging social hierarchies and inequalities in and across places and spaces
– innovative methodological approaches to space, place and mobilities
– housing financialisation and austerity urbanism
– dynamics of race, gender, class, sexuality, disability and space/place
– gentrification, displacement, evictions, homelessness
– mobilities and fixities
– methods for studying space, place and mobilities
– activist urban/mobilities research
– urban governance and the state
– Glasgow

We’d also like to encourage people to consider submitting grouped sessions on a theme (submit under special event- and do bear in mind this has to fit into a 1.5 hour slot). And we especially encourage papers or sessions which focus on issues related to the host city, Glasgow and alternative histories and narratives of the city.

This is by no means exhaustive. We also welcome suggestions which include alternative modes of presentation such as film, audio, maps etc…

The deadline for special events is October 5th and for abstracts October 12th.

We look forward to reading your submissions!

Please note all submissions should be submitted via the BSA website

Urban Methods on the Move II: 11th September 2018.

Our second BSA Cities and Mobilities workshop promotes and shares ideas around the creative, critical and responsive use of methods in urban research. Inspired by the call to cultivate a DIY spirit in our research practice, the workshop will explore how we can develop liveliness in our methods through making use of new technological opportunities and through the re-imagining of older techniques. Across a series of discussions on approaching cities through different kinds of methods – mapping, listening, creative writing – we consider how urban research can respond to a changing political and social context, including austerity and emergent and old forms of racism, alongside new forms of vernacular cultures and forms of dissent. We will discuss the temporalities of research, relationships of production and co-production and the kinds of interventions we seek to make. We hope that the format of the day – based on the pairing of researchers – will help to produce new discussions and open ongoing dialogues.

Image from ‘Hand-drawn Histories‘ by Jacqueline Waldock

Time and Location: University of Liverpool, Management School, 9.30-5.30pm, Tuesday 11th September 2018.

Organisers: Kirsteen Paton (University of Liverpool) Emma Jackson (Goldsmiths)

E: Kirsteen.paton@liverpool.ac.uk e.jackson@gold.ac.uk

Booking your place: Booking is essential. Venue numbers are restricted and it is advisable to book early

Registration Fees: BSA member £25 / Non-BSA member £35 / Student BSA concessionary member £20 / Full Time Student non-BSA member £25

Register on line HERE.

Confirmed Speakers: Luke de Noronha (University of Oxford) Camilla Lewis (University of Manchester), Thandi Loewenson (UCL), Jacqueline Waldock (Liverpool) Morag Rose (University of Liverpool) Ruth Raynor (Newcastle University)

Timetable and abstracts

9.30-9.45: Introduction

Kirsteen Paton (University of Liverpool) and Emma Jackson (Goldsmiths)

9.45am-11am: Mapping the changing city

Camilla Lewis and Monica Degen- Mapping the diversities of Gentrification: analysing Smithfield Market using sensory and temporal perspectives

Morag Rose (title tbc)

11am-11.15am Break

11.15am- 12.30pm Listening, sound and resistance

Luke de Noronha – “Deportation Discs”: reflections on listening to, recording, and sharing deportation stories.

Jacqueline Waldock – Listening to change, exploring the shifting sound cultures of regeneration.

12.30pm-1.15pm Lunch

1.15pm -3.15pm Walk

3.15pm- 4.30pm Creative Writing as Method

Thandi Loewensen – Not yet, now now: Excavating a space ship from the Lusaka city dump site

Ruth Raynor – Speaking , feeling, mattering:Theatre as method and model for co-produced research


4.30-5pm Closing discussion


Abstracts and resources


Camilla Lewis and Monica Degen

Mapping the diversities of Gentrification: analysing Smithfield Market using sensory and temporal perspectives

This paper provides a sensory and temporal analysis of urban change in and around the Smithfield Market area, the largest wholesale meat market in Britain. Located within the Square Mile of the City of London, this area has recently been included as part of the ‘Culture Mile’, the City’s largest regeneration project in a decade. The derelict west side of the market is being transformed into the site for the new Museum of London, a new Crossrail transport hub is due to open next year and the area is increasingly promoted as a cultural destination for families and tourists.

Analyses of gentrification have already shown how the effects of urban change vary in specific places and how gentrification plays out differently across the globe. Here, we follow Lees’ (2000) suggestion to focus on temporality in order to problematize the notion of gentrification as a uniform and coherent process within one locality. Instead, examining the lived, everyday experiences and practices of the diverse social groups using Smithfield Market, we explore how at times overlapping, at other times contrasting sensory atmospheres and temporal patterns produce uneven expressions of gentrification. In particular, we reflect on why the multi-methods approach used in the study which included ethnography, interviews, oral histories, walkalongs and various analogue and digital mapping techniques were necessary to investigate the interactions between past, present and future sensory identities of the area. The study reveals how gentrification fluctuates in intensity in different places and at different times, constituting a multiplicity of place identities and producing variable forms of belonging and exclusion. The paper suggests that urban research can respond to a changing political and social context by drawing attention to new forms of vernacular cultures emerging in cities using mapping methods which demonstrate the sensory and temporal character of urban change.

Project website: http://sensorysmithfield.com/

Report: http://sensorysmithfield.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Sensory-Smithfield-MofL-report-draft5.pdf

Morag Rose

Remapping Manchester: Walking Desire Lines and Power Chords

Drawing a line on a map is act of power. This paper explores how that power can be reclaimed by discussing DIY, activist and artist mapping practices. There will be a particular focus on psychogeographical techniques which use walking as a way to engage with, and affectively remap, urban space. It will draw on fieldnotes from twelve years of wandering and wondering with The Loiterers Resistance Movement (LRM), a Manchester based psychogeographical collective. Part of The LRM manifesto states

“Gentrification, advertising and blandness make us sad. We believe there is magic in the mancunian rain. Our city is wonderful and made for more than shopping. The streets belong to everyone and we want to reclaim them for play and revolutionary fun. ….The LRM embark on psychogeographical drifts to decode the palimpsest of the streets, uncover hidden histories and discover the extraordinary in the mundane”.

The psychogeographical derive – or drift – reconfigures walking as a political and creative act. This micro-level, DIY action presents many challenges and opportunities for exploring the city. For The LRM it is a convivial, playful way to work which aims to blur the boundaries between activism, art and academia and you are warmly invite to join us on an expedition as we take theory onto the streets.

Some further reading:

Phil Smith Mythogeography and more http://www.mythogeography.com/
Christian Nold Biomapping / emotional mapping http://biomapping.net/
Jane Samuels Artist maps: http://www.milliondollaryack.com/GhostStations/
Southwark Notes Activist maps: https://southwarknotes.wordpress.com/
Walking Artists Network: http://www.walkingartistsnetwork.org/

And some listening:

‘Er Outdoors by The Geography Workshop / Resonance FM

Luke De Noronha

“Deportation Discs”: reflections on listening to, recording, and sharing deportation stories. 

How do we tell the stories of people who have been banished from the UK? How might we tell different stories about ‘foreigners’, ‘criminals’ and ‘bad migrants’, stories which humanise and complicate? Sometimes just hearing someone’s voice, their British accent and their familiar points of reference, tells us more than the best writing can. So much is lost in the process of transcription, and it is important to bring the voice, intonation, expression, the noise into the telling of research. “Deportation Discs” was one attempt to tell deportation stories differently, through music and memory. Mimicking the format of Desert Island Discs was both apposite and unsettling. In this talk, I reflect on “Deportation Discs” and situate it within my larger research methodology. In particular, I question the ongoing ethical questions and risks when sharing intimate portraiture like this. Who is this podcast for? How do my interlocutors and I relate to the project differently? And how might this way of telling might contribute to the interventions I (we?) hope to make? “Deportation Discs” was one attempt to show people who have been subject to the most extraordinary state violence, to give them space to share their remembering. In this talk, I reflect on some of the limitations of this project, discuss how the podcast relates to my broader intellectual concerns, and finally, and most importantly, I question what the anti-racist utility of “Deportation Discs” might be.


2018     ‘Stuart Hall’s Familiar Stranger – deportation and different lives lived between two islands’, Identities, (25).

2018    The Windrush deportations were wrong – and so are all the others, The Guardian

Jacqueline Waldock

Listening to change, exploring the shifting sound cultures of regeneration.

The paper will highlight how conflicting sounds and sound cultures are compounded by the regeneration process. The work will explore a multi-faceted approach to understanding sound in areas of urban regeneration where local residents were engaged in: recording, listening, re-listening, editing and critiquing their sound spaces at a time of significant change. This practice of partnering with local residents provided valuable insights into how regeneration can disrupt communities and radically transform their listening of sonic space. I will also discuss how partnering process also contributed in supporting the agency of residents to inscribe their presence in a multiplicity of ways, in a shifting environment of conflict.


Waldock, J. “Crossing the Boundaries: Community Composition and Sensory Ethnography” Senses and Society Journal, Berg. 2016

Waldock, J. “Hearing Urban Change” in Black L. and Bull, M.(eds.) Auditory Cultural Reader, 2nd revised edition, Bloomsbury Press. pp 151-161 2015


Thandi Loewensen

Not yet, now now: Excavating a space ship from the Lusaka city dump site 

On 24 October 1964, Zambia gained independence from the United Kingdom. In Lusaka, thousands of people gathered at the newly built Independence Stadium for Dr Kaunda’s inauguration, chanting ‘kwatcha’, the Nyanja word for dawn. Had UNESCO responded to funding requests from one of the country’s most ingenious freedom fighters, Edward Festus Mukuka Nkoloso, the day would also have been marked by a rocket launch to Mars and the start of the Zambian Space Program. Nkoloso and his Space Program, with its accompanying Academy of Sciences and Space Technology, were pilloried in the Western media; Zambians couldn’t possibly have ambitions that high, not yet. Exactly what happened to the Program in the years that followed is unclear. This paper reveals the search for Nkoloso’s space ship, and poses questions about the potential of an architectural practice which operates on the fringe of the real –  through drawings, props, costume and performance – to engage disenfranchised communities with policy makers in imagining urban futures.

The search begins at the rumoured former testing site of the program  –  the Lusaka city dump – where a lingering tender process threatens to privatise the site any day, now now. Here, a fictional city called Mailo – a parallel and possible version of Lusaka, past and present, made Weird –  has been conjured through which to conduct our investigation. Through the staging and performance of scenes and characters from Mailo, together with the Chunga Waste Recycler’s Association and the Lusaka City Council, we set out to excavate what pieces of the space ship might remain, and how exhuming and performing scenes from a forgotten history reimagined, might reshape how we think of the potential of the city today.




Ruth Raynor

Speaking, feeling, mattering: Theatre as a method and a model for coproduced research

A group of women in the North East of England; all mothers, all out of paid work or in low waged temporary employment; women getting on and getting by amidst austerity. All attended a family support service that was threatened (and eventually lost) to local authority budget cuts. Over two years we made a theatre play together. This enabled us to explore precarious conditions in and beyond austerity, amongst other things. The result was a grounded but fictional narrative (albeit a story that ‘falls apart’). We made efforts to hold onto the singularity of women and characters, which would become more than a position (‘economically inactive’) in a region (the North-East of England) and a climate (of austerity). Staying with these excesses, in this short piece, I reflect on the theatre-making workshops. In particular I focus on in-depth and well-justified relationships between forms of practice and the spatial ways of knowing they engage; the surfacing of otherwise background conditions for critique and intervention; and relations between doing and thinking, as well as collaborating partners, to show how this method opened a field of possibilities.

‘White Lines:  Young People, Diversity and Belonging in a ‘Post-Brexit’ Age’: BSA Cities and Mobilities Stream Plenary

We are delighted that our plenary at the BSA conference this year will be given by Professor Anoop Nayak . The plenary takes place on Tuesday 11th April at 17.15pm, Room 002, CCE.

Anoop Nayak is Professor in Social and Cultural Geography at Newcastle University.  He is author of Race, Place and Globalization:  Youth Cultures in a Changing World, co-author with Mary Jane Kehily of Gender, Youth and Culture:  Global Masculinities and Femininities, and co-author with Alex Jeffrey of a social theory book on the spatial relations of power, Geographical Thought.

White Lines:  Young People, Diversity and Belonging in a ‘Post-Brexit’ Age

Abstract:  This paper focuses upon young people and everyday forms of belonging in ‘post-Brexit’ Britain.  It is argued that sociological ideas surrounding superdiversity and everyday multiculturalism need to be recalibrated in light of the marked divisions and unspoken feelings that have come to underpin Brexit.  The study seeks to engage with the social forms of stratification that exist in ‘left behind’ places and the feelings of attachment and alienation found in the post-industrial localities of Sunderland.  Drawing upon mobile methods and urban ethnography with young people I explore the relationship between race, place and social class and how these are composed through feelings, events and happenings.  Critical to this is the diversity of youth experiences and the ways in which white lines of territoriality are composed and reconfigured in the local landscape.

Call for Papers: Cities, Mobilities, Spaces and Places stream, BSA 2018

The call for abstracts for the BSA annual conference (10th-12th April, Northumbria University) is now open for submissions.
We would like to encourage you to submit your abstracts to the Cities, Mobilities, Spaces and Places stream.
While considering any abstract that relates to our stream, we would be particularly interested in submissions on the following themes:
– identity, community and social solidarity in and across places and spaces
 visual and multi-sensory approaches to space, place and mobilities
– housing financialisation and austerity urbanism
– dynamics of race, gender, class, sexuality, disability and space/place
– gentrification, displacement, evictions, homelessness
– post-Brexit landscapes, mobilities and fixities
– methods for studying space, place and mobilities
– activist urban/mobilities research
– Urban governance and the state 
– Newcastle and the North East of England
– grouped sessions on a theme
This is by no means exhaustive. We also welcome suggestions which include alternative modes of presentation such as film, audio, maps etc…
The deadline is October 13th. We look forward to reading your submissions!
Please note all submissions should be submitted via the BSA website 

Deportable and Disposable Lives: “Mayism”, Brexit and the Expulsive Power of the Illiberal State

Professor Imogen Tyler

Plenary lecture for BSA 2017, Cities, Mobilities, Space and Place Stream

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 11.36.03

‘If you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere. You don’t understand what the very word “citizenship” means.’ Theresa May, 15th October 2016.

‘If you fail to make a voluntary departure, a separate decision may be made at a later date to enforce your removal.’ British Home Office Rejection of Residency Letter, 2017.

Since the Brexit referendum result on June 23rd 2016, newspapers have been filled with stories about EU nationals who are long term residents of the UK, often married to and parents of UK citizens, and who, on application for citizenship, have been told to leave the country. These newspaper stories have tended to feature middle-class EU nationals and are often written from a position of unchecked privilege, in seeming disbelief that (white) Europeans might be (or become) subject to Britain’s deeply illiberal immigration regime; the same racist “detention and deportation factory”, that has terrorized, incarcerated and ejected black, brown, non-European bodies for decades. Nevertheless, the extension of these punitive regimes to EU residents vividly illustrates the extent to which, ‘Brexit means Brexit means go home’ (Piacentini 2016). If the fate of the estimated 800,000 EU citizens in Britain remains uncertain, what we can say with certainty is that Brexit marks the emergence of a more authoritarian, nationalistic form of government in Britain. We are beginning to find out precisely what citizenship means, as Theresa May put it. One of the central characteristics of post-Brexit Britain is the ‘ever-intensifying magnitude of deportation’ as a practice of sovereign power (Peutz and De Genova, 2010: 7). As a mechanism of government, deportation functions symbolically as a “tough” demonstration of sovereignty, and is used in policy as a means of crafting politically useful divisions between citizens and non-citizens. Crucially, deportation doesn’t seek only to redistribute people along the lines of citizenship to allotted national spaces; indeed, its primary aim has been to make people deportable in order, for example, to better incorporate them within the state as placid, exploitable and precarious labour (see De Genova 2010). Deportation also functions to demarcate the limits of state protection, and is employed as a threat and warning in order to manage citizens “at home”. Indeed, as this paper details, deportation regimes are as involved in the production of “disposable subjects” within the state as with the policing of migrant lives.

This paper develops and extends insights from the critical literature on deportation regimes to consider the emerging landscape of post-Brexit British Society. It focuses throughout on Theresa May, and what her promotion from deportation-enthusiast Home Secretary to ‘Protectionist’ Brexit Prime-Minister signals, in terms of the increasing centrality of deportability as a mode of government and mechanism of social control over both citizen and non-citizen populations. It is the argument of this paper that thinking with and through deportation can further sociologists’ understanding of the relationship between the precarity of migrant lives and the intensification of ‘legalised expulsions’ “at home” (Walters, 2002). To this end, it tracks the relationship between deportability and ‘disposability’ (see Khanna, 2009) by examining how ‘post-welfare’ policies increasingly involve internal displacements and expulsions: from state-led practices of gentrification which expel social housing tenants from affluent cities, to punitive welfare-regimes which immobilise disabled peoples within their homes (Peck, 2009). By emphasizing the dual axis of deportability and disposability this paper seeks to address the intertwined classed and racialized character of emergent authoritarian neoliberal state forms.