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Title: Belonging in Byker :the nature of local belonging and attachment in contemporary cities
Authors: Yarker, Sophie Katharine
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This study is about how we live in cities. It is about the nature of the relationships we have to the places in which we live, whether we feel a sense of attachment and belonging to local communities and what the nature of these attachments might be. Specifically it asks what are the characteristics of local belonging and attachment in cities today? What circumstance shape and influence these attachments and how are they affected by processes of urban change? Despite drawing on sets of literature from across the social sciences, the research demonstrates the value of a geographical lens in analysing these questions by demonstrating both the social and spatial nature of an individual’s sense of belonging. Located primarily within literatures from human geography, the work of this thesis seeks to move this discussion forward from relational discussions of mobility in everyday life, by acknowledging the importance of both place and mobility for understanding and explaining attachment and belonging. Based on the exploration of local belonging and attachment in a local community in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, two conclusions were reached. Firstly the nature of local attachments as being characterised by sets a set of three characteristics; comfort and confidence, commitment and contribution, and irony and critical distance and secondly, the basis of such attachments as unfolding as a process within the materiality of everyday life in place, pointing to both the territorial and relational nature of such attachments. In doing so, the research argues for an understanding of attachment to place as a process with affective dimensions as well as spatial practice within the everyday and secondly, to recognise the agency or the desire to belong as part of these active negotiations. The thesis concludes with a discussion of the potential for an understanding of the place of local belonging within human geography debate, reiterating the value of a complimentary understanding of both territorial and relational approaches to place.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

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