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Everyday Aesthetics, Locality and Racialisation

Smith, A and Byrne, B and Garratt, L and Harries, B (2020) Everyday Aesthetics, Locality and Racialisation. Cultural Sociology, 15 (1). pp. 91-112. ISSN 1749-9755


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© The Author(s) 2020. In this essay we reflect on the relationship between aesthetic practices and racialised conceptions of belonging. In particular, we explore attributions of beauty and ugliness, order and disorder, as these are made in relation to local space, and we consider how these attributions can be linked to proprietorial claims about who is welcome in those spaces. Our focus is thus on the everyday aesthetics of location: the ways in which aesthetic judgements are tied to the inhabitation of space and, in this case, the exclusionary potential of ‘ways of looking’ at such spaces and at the social relations which exist within them. Drawing on data from qualitative research in two adjoining neighbourhoods in Glasgow’s Southside, we make three analytical contributions. First, we consider the racialising potential of everyday aesthetic responses to local space. Second, we explore the ways in which local social relations themselves can be aesthetically interpreted. Third, we reflect on forms of everyday aesthetic resistance.

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