Spaces of nostalgia: the hollowing out of a London market

Watson, Sophie and Wells, Karen (2005). Spaces of nostalgia: the hollowing out of a London market. Social & Cultural Geography, 6(1) pp. 17–30.



In this paper we look at the place of memory and nostalgia in peoples' narratives of an old, traditionally white, working-class market in London, which over the last decade has experienced social and economic decline. We argue that in this hollowed out space, abandoned by many of those who can move, has emerged a nostalgia for the halcyon days of the market when people came from far and wide to shop, and when there was a strong sense of community. What these nostalgic discourses mask are the social divisions (particularly racialized divisions) of the time, while in this romanticized vision of the past, the new population of asylum seekers have become an easy trope for the dissatisfactions of the present. Regeneration strategies in an area such as this need to confront the force of these nostalgic discourses in order to tackle the deep social and racial divisions and reverse the socio-economic decline.

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