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Mundane hauntings: commuting through the phantasmagoric working-class spaces of Manchester, England

Edensor, Timothy J. (2008) Mundane hauntings: commuting through the phantasmagoric working-class spaces of Manchester, England. Cultural geographies, 15 (3). pp. 313-333. ISSN 1474-4740

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Abstract

This paper explores the haunted realms of everyday mundane space. Based on the author's journey to work by car, a series of sites that evoke an absent-presence of working-class life are depicted. It is argued that these spaces, including housing estates, old railways, patches of derelict ground and old cinemas, are replete with ghostly effects. Drawing upon the examples provided, the article goes on to examine in more detail these hauntings, focusing upon the sensual, half-recognizable and imaginary qualities that are provoked by absences, vestiges and peculiar recontextualizations. It is contended that such sites are particularly haunted because unlike the more dynamic spaces of regenerated urban space, the past lingers in people, spaces, textures and things and is not so rapidly disposed. The paper concludes by investigating the ambiguities produced by the ghostly absent-presence of the working class, both in lived space and in academic discourse, and evaluates the advantages of spectral indeterminacy.

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