From ‘me towns’ to ‘we towns’: activist citizenship in UK town centres

DOBSON, Julian (2017). From ‘me towns’ to ‘we towns’: activist citizenship in UK town centres. Citizenship Studies, 21 (8), 1015-1033.

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Britain’s town centres have witnessed economic, social and physical upheaval over more than half a century, linked to sweeping changes in retailing and consumption. Yet they are also places where activists are seeking to fashion alternative futures and test social and economic models that challenge neoliberal norms. Reflecting on recent developments in the UK, this paper explores the potential of citizen-led economic activism in British town and city centres. Focusing on three case studies of urban activism, it contrasts policies and practices that frame the users of urban space as consumers with the marginal acts that seek to assert wider rights to the city. The article shows how ideas of ‘resilience’ have become a stake of struggle in debates over the future of urban centres and urban citizenship, deployed both to defend neoliberal economic configurations and to signal radical transitions towards more participatory and economically autonomous forms of society.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Activism; right to the city; participation; citizenship; resilience; retail centres; 1606 Political Science; 1608 Sociology; Political Science & Public Administration
Identification Number:
Page Range: 1015-1033
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2020 11:26
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2021 20:30

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