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Title: Mobility and inequality in a transitional inner-city neighbourhood
Author: Jeffery, Robert Francis
ISNI:       0000 0004 2709 0624
Awarding Body: University of Salford
Current Institution: University of Salford
Date of Award: 2011
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This study attempts to identify the causal mechanisms linking social inequality and physical (im)mobilities, by way of a case study analysis. Adopting a methodological approach of critical realism, the focus of this study lies not with aggregate analyses of transport behaviour, but with qualitative judgements based on mixed-methods regarding the links between mobility, place, and identity, as they are played out in a deprived (though partially gentrified) neighbourhood. Following an examination of the Labour government's Social Exclusion Unit's work on transport inequalities (Making the Connections, 2003), I will attempt to link current trends in class analysis to the problematic of mobility and inequality, giving particular attention to the Bourdieusian inspired concepts of 'network capital' (Urry, 2007) and 'elective belonging' (Savage et al, 2005). In attempting to relate sociological theory to the level of individual experience, this work tends towards the ideographic, as against the macro analyses of authors such as Bauman, Beck, Castells, and Giddens. To locate this case study site within the broader array of social processes, a careful description of its contextual attributes will be undertaken, focusing especially on the impact of the mobility of capital (and of regional 'uneven development', Massey, 1995), and the restructuring of urban space around modernist planning ideals (Jacobs, 1961). The substantive empirical data presented in two chapters deals with everyday and residential mobilities, respectively. In the first of these chapters I engage with Urry's concept of network capital and, by relating its constituent components to the forms of capital conceived of by Bourdieu, question the independence of this form from other axes of stratification and especially from social class. In the second analysis chapter I thematically explore identity, belonging and residential mobility by reference to perceptions of the locality, discourses around regeneration, residential mobility narratives and residential mobility more specifically in relation to the transition to adulthood. This chapters ends with the assertion of the necessity of a conceptual antonym to Savage et al's 'elective belonging' that recognises the difficulty in achieving such a state for actors occupying more marginal class positions. To conclude the thesis, I will revisit the aims of the thesis and demonstrate how a search for causal mechanisms draws attention to the overwhelmingly structural reasons for the experience of unequal mobilities in a disadvantaged UK inner-city neighbourhood.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available