Knowing your place: the formation and sustenance of class-based place identity



Robertson D (2013) Knowing your place: the formation and sustenance of class-based place identity. Housing, Theory and Society, 30 (4), pp. 368-383.

This paper argues that the significance of place has for too long been overlooked within housing studies, rarely meriting more consideration than providing a descriptive backdrop. The emphasis on descriptive backdrop is due to place more often being examined and conceptualized in physical terms, rather than as a social construct. Only through understanding how place becomes bonded to a specific class-based identity can the explanatory potential of place be fully realized. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to engage with Bourdieu's "theory of practice", as it embraces the different forms of capital, their respective symbolic constructions and how these interplay within his twin notions of "field" and "habitus". By using Bourdieu's theoretical framework to analyse empirical data derived from the Scottish city of Stirling, it is possible to reveal just how class-based place identities are constructed and reproduced. Conceptualizing place in such terms can enhance our understanding of social structures, social hierarchies and how the process of social change influences and impacts upon housing. Revealing the processes by which individuals come to "know their place" addresses a long-acknowledged weakness in housing studies.

Class-based place identity; Neighbourhood hierarchy; Stigma; Bourdieu; Stirling housing

Housing, Theory and Society: Volume 30, Issue 4

Publication date31/12/2013
Publication date online10/01/2013
Date accepted by journal12/12/2012
PublisherTaylor and Francis

People (1)


Professor Douglas Robertson
Professor Douglas Robertson

Honorary Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences