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Title: Women's lived experiences and perceptions of representation and identity in urban space : a case study of Liverpool, UK
Author: Ross, Kimberley May
ISNI:       0000 0004 6059 5069
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis considers the lived experiences that women have in urban space, with a particular focus on how the space is represented and the impact that this can have on the identity of the space and those who use the space. Lefebvre (1974, 1976 & 2003) drew attention to the tensions that exist between elite visions of space and more 'everyday' interpretations and uses, arguing that those behind the production and development of urban space have their own motivations for wanting the spaces to be represented in a particular way. Often these representations reflect gendered and classed stereotypes and wider divisions in society (Zukin 1993 & 1995; Massey 2004; Skeggs 2005; Longhurst et al 2014). This thesis will demonstrate how these representations of urban spaces can create and reflect gendered divisions that occur in wider society and how these can also intersect with class. Of particular relevance to this thesis are the notions of cultural and symbolic capital (Bourdieu 1986) and how these can be portrayed and reflected through the representations of space and spatial practices (Lefebvre 1974). The combination of these theoretical concepts is novel. Both these theorists have been used in discussions around identity, and representations and experiences within urban space. However, the amalgamation of key aspects of both theories allows for an original interpretation of women's lived experiences and perceptions of representations and identity in urban space. Liverpool, UK and the privatised development of Liverpool One (which opened in 2008) have been used as the case study for this research and a sample of twenty women who were local to Liverpool were recruited. The case study was chosen because of the recent change to the ownership of the space and the drastic changes that the space underwent. It therefore provided a unique opportunity to explore how such changes affect the cultural capital of space and those who use the space as well as the conflict between the representations of space and spatial practise that create and contribute to the symbolic capital of the space. Walking interviews alongside cognitive mapping and photograph elicitation were used to explore the everyday lived experiences of local women. Taking the standpoint that social construction is crucial in the representations associated with urban space, this thesis will argue that in the case of Liverpool, the shift from public to private ownership of the space which is now Liverpool One has contributed to social boundaries and inequality in terms of the lived experiences of those who use the space. This is highlighted through the gendered representations that become associated with the space and the juxtapositions that are felt by local women who use the space in an everyday setting.
Supervisor: Jones, P. ; Coleman, R. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral