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Title: The Great Book of the City : children's narratives of the city
Author: Llamas Acosta, Lillian
ISNI:       0000 0004 7232 2092
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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The subjective aspect of urban experience, and urban imaginaries in particular, have not been addressed sufficiently in studies of children in the city. This thesis will address these imaginative and subjective issues as they play significant roles in the construction of children’s urban lives. By referring to a set of short fictional stories that were produced by children as part of a series of workshops titled ‘The Great Book of the City’, the thesis approaches the city as a book made of interweaved stories, and thereby contests the idea that the city is mainly constituted by physical structures. I contend that children make sense of the urban environment through stories, and argue that their narratives are the place where they project their urban imaginaries. Narratives are also a tool for understanding the particular ways in which children perceive, experience and imagine the city. In particular, I explore three childhood everyday practices: moving, playing and dwelling. First, I argue that to study the child in the city we must consider the two factors of social space: the objective element (the spatial framework within which children live) and the subjective element (the space as perceived and imagined by children). Secondly, I claim that the way children make sense of the urban environment is both reliant on their encounter with the social city and on their internalisation of the cultural constructions of childhood. Finally, I maintain that children’s experience of the city is partial and personal, since urban space is fragmented and subject to change, and because it involves children’s own bodies at the levels of perception, memory and agency. I conclude that the short fictional stories not only allow children to project their urban experience, but also to (re)construct, imagine and contest their material realities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral