Gentrification as Method

Gentrification is one of the few analytical frameworks in urban studies which ‘provides a critical edge and some theoretical coherence to physical and social change incorporating eviction, displacement, demolition and redevelopment” (Ley and Teo, 2014). Nevertheless, increasingly in recent years, it has also been subject to negation, deemed inapplicable outside the global North. It is sometimes argued that gentrification prohibits the possibility of multiple narratives of displacement and eviction. However, is this discussion an appropriate and justifiable way of advancing our production of knowledge? Instead of becoming ensnared in categorical debates on definitions of gentrification and its conceptualisation across space, the session aims to locate “gentrification as part of multiple urban processes at work” (Shin, Lees and López-Morales, 2016), understanding the working of gentrification and other urban processes from the perspective of relational and hierarchical space. Papers presented to this session are to engage with, or be related to, the following questions:

  • What does the use of a particular geographical scale mean for gentrification studies?
  • How does gentrification reconcile itself with other analytical frameworks (e.g. accumulation by dispossession, segregation)?
  • Where does ‘concept stretch’ come into play with gentrification?
  • Are we homogenising space to an extreme when discussing issues of displacement, dispossession and accumulation in terms of gentrification?
  • How do we create a healthier and more productive dialogue between gentrification and non-gentrification researchers, both of whom aim to attain social justice?
  • How can gentrification researchers best overcome the principal methodological problems they face?

Dr. Hyun Bang Shin, London School of Economics and Political Science h.b.shin@lse.ac.uk

Dr. Paul Waley, School of Geography University of Leeds Email: p.t.waley@leeds.ac.uk