The Village in the City

Participation and Cultural Value on the Urban Periphery

Andrew Miles and Jill Ebrey

Drawing on evidence from ethnographic fieldwork conducted in 2014–2016 for the Understanding Everyday Participation (UEP) project, this paper addresses the relationship between space, place and participation in a “suburban village” on the edge of the city of Aberdeen in North East Scotland. Recent critiques have pointed to the ways in which the rural and peri-urban domains have been neglected in cultural policy as the by-product of a preoccupation with urban regeneration and the “creative city”. Working with conceptual frameworks developed by Raymond Williams and Charles Taylor, our research reveals the rich fabric of participation in this community, reflecting an historically rooted “common culture”, through which social tensions are mediated by a “village social imaginary”. This “residual” formation, which emphasises the importance of everyday culture to the constitution of the civic realm, suggests a much broader understanding of cultural value than is currently recognised in policy, but is currently under threat from generational change and social flux.

Source: Article Abstract