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Editorial: Working-class heritage and the city

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Here, we introduce a series of concepts and debates that provide a meta-context for the papers on the topic of working-class heritage and the city that follow. We propose Henri Lefebvre's seminal work on the dissolution of the city as a theoretical framing device via brief detours through notions of museification, authenticity and 'communicity'. The fundamental problematic, as we see it, is that urban working-class heritage is symptomatic of the dissolution of the industrial city and an attempt ‐ conditioned by economic, social, cultural and political imperatives ‐ to reimagine and/or reconfigure the legacies of this city. While we agree that heritage is an active process ‐ it is selected, curated, narrated and interpreted, or 'decoded' by individuals and social groups in a reflexive manner ‐ we also suggest, on the evidence of the papers collected here, that working-class heritage delivers an ambivalent experience and response.
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Keywords: authenticity; gentrification; heritage; industrial city; museification; working-class

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: 0000000419369668 University of York 2: 0000000419368403 University of Leeds

Publication date: September 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • Cities have been increasingly at the forefront of debate in both humanities and social-science disciplines, but there has been relatively little dialogue across these disciplinary boundaries. Journals in social-science fields that use urban-studies methods to look at life in cities rarely explore the cultural aspects of urban life in any depth or delve into close readings of the representation of cities in individual cultural products. As a platform for interdisciplinary scholarship from any and all linguistic, cultural and geographical traditions, the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies prioritizes the urban phenomenon in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities.
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