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Landscapes and legacies of industrial ruination.

Mah, Alice Anastasia (2008) Landscapes and legacies of industrial ruination. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This doctoral thesis critically examines the landscapes and legacies of industrial ruination via three paradigmatic case studies in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom; Ivanovo, Russia; and the twin-city-region of Niagara Falls, USA/Canada. These conurbations represent old industrial areas in different national and political contexts which have experienced significant deindustrialisation in the latter half of the twentieth century. Through the case studies, this research explores the social and economic geography of industrial decline, drawing connections to wider processes and to the specifics of local contexts. The research is based on a multiple-site case study methodology which involves semi-structured interviews with a range of local people; site and ethnographic observations; statistical data and socioeconomic indicators; and documentary and photographic materials. The aims of this research are firstly to examine how sites of industrial ruination are readable as part of a landscape of capital, and secondly to explore how local people relate to forms and processes of industrial ruination in their everyday lives. Key findings from this research are: 1) old industrial centres have diverse challenges and strengths, thus no single model of economic growth, such as arts-and-housing-led regeneration, can form the basis for urban redevelopment; 2) many people remain strongly attached to their communities in areas of industrial decline, despite job losses, socioeconomic deprivation, and contamination; and 3) people who live in derelict industrial landscapes imagine past and present industrial places in contradictory ways, reflecting divisions across generations, class, gender and ethnicity. The thesis suggests that processes of deindustrialisation or the physical topography of a ruin are not simply matters of historic record, but they represent legacies of industrial ruination: enduring and complex contemporary realities for people occupying the in-between spaces of postindustrial change.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sociology, Industrial and Labor Relations
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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