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'That once romantic now utterly disheartening (former) colliery town': The affective politics of heritage, memory, place and regeneration in Mansfield, UK

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This article investigates the affective politics of heritage, memory, place and regeneration in Mansfield, UK. Ravaged by workplace closures from the 1980s, Mansfield's local government and cultural partners have supposedly put heritage at the centre of urban regeneration policies. Principal are ambiguous, and forestalled, ambitions to mobilize the industrial past to build urban futures. Yet these heritages, and their attendant memories and histories, are emotionally evocative and highly contested. The affective politics are played out in the material, embodied and atmospheric remains of the industrial past as Mansfield struggles to make sense of its industrial legacies. Drawing on Critical Discourse Analysis, archival research, observant participation and interview data, this article critiques heritage-based regeneration; examines interrelations between local memory, class, place and history; and interprets tensions between competing imaginaries of what Mansfield is, was and should be. Contributing to work on memory and class in post-industrial towns, the article demonstrates that affect and place should be central to our considerations of heritage-based urban regeneration. In the case of Mansfield, an 'emotional regeneration' will be denied until a shared practice of remembering the affective ruptures of the past is enabled.
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Keywords: affective politics; deindustrialization; industrial heritage; post-industrial towns; urban regeneration; working-class memory

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000419368411 University of Leicester

Publication date: September 1, 2019

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  • 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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