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Kitsch geographies and the everyday spaces of social memory

Atkinson, David



Given recent developments in retheorising the spatialities of memory, in this study I move beyond established foci upon monuments and fixed sites of memory to consider some of the more ordinary places where memory erupts. In contrast to the high-profile, waterfront regeneration projects that often draw academic attention, I focus upon one of the more routine docklands that are less regularly analysed-namely 'Victoria Dock Village' in Hull. I discuss the ways a maritime-heritage aesthetic was employed by the developers to brand and market this site. Thereafter, I discuss how residents negotiated these aesthetics and a sense of local heritage through two planning debates. To do this 1 adapt recent reconceptualisations of kitsch in critical and material culture studies. These reconceptualisations take a category that academics have dismissed traditionally as vulgar, banal, 'low' culture, and suggest that the repetitive familiarity, reassuring predictability, and nostalgic sentimentality of kitsch prove comforting in an increasingly uncertain, disembedded world. I explore the degree to which residents engage with these kitsch landscapes, and whether they feel more rooted as a consequence. I also suggest that a greater emphasis upon everyday understandings of more ordinary places may contribute to wider analyses of how place identities are constructed and continually remade by the quotidian practices and negotiation of social memory.


Atkinson, D. (2007). Kitsch geographies and the everyday spaces of social memory. Environment & planning. A, 39(3), 521-540.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 31, 2007
Publication Date 2007-03
Deposit Date Jan 12, 2018
Print ISSN 0308-518X
Electronic ISSN 1472-3409
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 39
Issue 3
Pages 521-540
Keywords Geography, Planning and Development; Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
Public URL
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