Examine the argument that Identities of place can be a Source of Inclusion and Exclusion.

1004 Words Dec 25th, 2013 5 Pages
Examine the argument that Identities of place can be a Source of Inclusion and Exclusion.

There is an inextricable link between physical locations and personal identity: the one affects the other as the environmental psychologist Harold Proshansky states in “The City and Self-Identity”(Proshansky, 1983) “Place-identity is defined as those dimensions of self that define the individual’s personal identity in relation to the physical environment”. So, does the way locations affect our individual identity determine how we are included or excluded from parts of society, and how is the perception of places influenced by contrasts with other locations resulting in a sense of attachment or disassociation?

The importance of place in the
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175-182) commentary on Jonathan Raban’s experiences with the “Street People” in New York: the homeless people living on the streets appear to take on a group identity associated with their home which is the street. The passers-by keep away from these people partly through fear (they look threatening, dirty, possibly drunk, drugged etc.), but also as they do not want to invade their space on the street. Here we look at the Street People as being the “marked identity”, and the rest of society as the “others”.

Urban regeneration is at the forefront of government policies, and is the subject of much polemic. There are numerous examples of this in the UK such as Glasgow, Bristol and Liverpool; there are clearly advantages for these cities in terms of improved resources, but this has also depersonalised certain communities. Some of the areas cleared for redevelopment were homes to large numbers of people and the places they were attached to; “the over-writing of historical and cultural identities will alienate and marginalise embedded social groups” (Zukin, cited in Scheffler). Communities are also being dismantled/displaced in the countryside: there is much discussion for example of the proposed HS2 train link which could lead to compulsory purchases and destruction of local habitats. More and more city dwellers are eager to escape the stresses of the urban environment and buy up holiday homes in villages, thus making it increasingly difficult for
locals