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Title: The built heritage conservation movement : landscapes of Englishness and social class
Authors: Law, Andrew Malcolm
Issue Date: 2004
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This study will investigate the Built Heritage Conservation Movement in Britain . . Including archival analysis, I build a comparative study of conservationists in York and Leeds through sixty-three semi-structured interviews, participant observation and visual research. Through history and contemporary issues I argue that conservationists; in the production of 'townscape aesthetics' and 'nostalgia for a pre-intellectual spirit of creativity', construct an organic Englishness. Moreover I suggest that the formation of this Englishness rests on the construction of 'inorganic others' enabling a normalisation of an organic identity. Thus, conservationists discuss 'modernist others' (landscapes and agents) as symptoms of an increasingly devolved world which lacks taste, style and is a threat to 'natural English identities'. In this positioning conservationists enforce nostalgia for 'organic landscapes' and the idea of an 'organic community' aware of its own 'creativity' and 'independence'. Furthermore, I assert that an organic discourse of Englishness is established through cultural capital and symbolic violence. Thus through capitals of populism and symbolic performances of outrage, conservationists position the 'industrial' and the 'modern' with the intention of constructing an image of self-authority and patriotism. By positioning these landscapes and cultures as spaces and identities of bad taste and vandalism, conservationists enact a construction of a 'moralistic and patriotic self' which legitimises their organic vision. Furthermore, through the forging of this 'self' conservationists deliver their vision, not simply as an expression of their own views, but as the 'aesthetic tastes and identities of the people'. In this way I understand that the construction of power is forged through processes of disidentification where conservationists understand themselves simultaneously as both authorities and populists.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

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