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Commodification, control and civic space: a Mancunian perspective

Massey, Joanne (2008) Commodification, control and civic space: a Mancunian perspective. [Conference or Workshop Item] (Unpublished)

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This paper will focus on the experience of the city of Manchester which has undergone intense regeneration as a result of the 1996 IRA bombing and hosting the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Whilst the rebuilding has led to the creation of new civic spaces which are more heavily used post-regeneration, certain groups (most notably youths) have been subject to increased control and surveillance (Massey 2007). As a consequence of this imaginative ways of legitimising (Mitchell 2003) the youth population’s presence in such spaces, led to the inception of a Peer Youth Work project. This paper tells the story of the struggles and contests (Smith 1996) around public space and the impact of tighter regulation and control on public space (Raco 2003). Drawing on interview data the notion that the peer youth workers have become agents of control themselves as they are ‘policing’ the area will be explored. An important question here is whose values and rules are the peer youth workers upholding and enforcing?

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