Version and subversion: Control versus reinscription and reappropriation in the postmodern landscape

Skyrme, Sarah Louise (2005) Version and subversion: Control versus reinscription and reappropriation in the postmodern landscape. Masters thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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This thesis questions and discusses some current trends that appear to place new restrictions on urban space both through overt and also less obvious means of surveillance and control. It is argued that these measures may compromise the social interactions possible within some urban sites as they impede certain members of society whilst facilitating access to others. Further, the more widespread effects on society of such processes and their resultant impacts are considered. These processes are taking place at a time when the design and management of spaces is increasingly concerned with the observation of individuals and when control mechanisms are an intrinsic feature of architectural plans. Gated communities and malls in particular provide working examples of such occurrences, expressing a trend towards monitored and commodified space which is not productive in supporting socially diverse communities. Consideration is given to how the ethos of commodification is spreading into more generalised areas of society impacting the way urban space is managed and controlled. These observations are balanced, however, by the work of social commentators and researchers who think of space and place as still holding a multiplicity of meanings and values. Further support for this view is provided by my own field research which suggests that individuals carry around, and sometimes act out, their own 'versions' of the spaces they use and inhabit. This balancing factor will validate multiple viewpoints and bring a fresh point of view to understandings of how space and place bear various meanings for the members of society interacting within them.

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