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The heritagization of post-industrial re-development and social inclusion in Amsterdam

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Abstract

The histories of former industrial urban areas offer a contested and ambiguous framework for urban redevelopment. Whilst the newly emerged creative industries are framed in continuity with an industrial past, cultural heritage is being mobilized by different actors to authenticate or to contest the redevelopment of working-class neighbourhoods. This article explores the ongoing transformation of post-industrial Amsterdam North, an area that has become subject to active urban redevelopment since the 2000s. Based on ethnographic material, this study examines how 'heritage as development' ‐ based on cosmopolitan ideals of social inclusion ‐ reinforces a process of heritagization grounded on cultural rights that involves working-class memories of solidarity and dissent. I argue that the Amsterdam case complicates dualist interpretations of gentrification and heritagization as processes of categorizing individuals as 'winners' and 'losers'. Heritage practices tend to reinforce cultural differences that produce feelings of exclusion rather than inclusion, but also offer pathways for emancipation and a re-appropriation of local heritage for long-term working-class residents.
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Keywords: Amsterdam; creativity; gentrification; industrial heritage; social inclusion; stigma

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000084992262 University of Amsterdam

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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