'They are treating us with contempt'. The complexities of opposition in an English village

Harrison, Elizabeth (2019) 'They are treating us with contempt'. The complexities of opposition in an English village. Journal of Rural Studies, 68. pp. 54-62. ISSN 0743-0167

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This article is an ethnographic examination of the response to proposed housing development in an English village which provides broader insights into the nature of democratic and decision-making processes around local development projects. Dissecting the complexities of class, age and length of residence, it argues that attributions of either ‘NIMBYism’ or ‘community cohesion’ simplify how and why people come together. Charges of NIMBYism in popular representation seek to exploit difference through certain well-established tropes. These often distinguish between the interests of poorer and longer-established residents with livelihoodsrooted in rural areas, and those of wealthier people with urban-based livelihoods for whom rural housing is a lifestyle choice. Academic discussions of NIMBYism have sought to unpack the complexity of opposition, identifying problems in the uncritical use of the term. In contributing to this literature, I argue that it is important to consider how responses are shaped by both a combination of individual interest and sense of investment in place. I suggest that ‘community’ is an effective organising device for protesters that can obscure numerous differences and that the nature of political process and consultation also are crucial factors in shaping opposition. Concerns with the nature of nominally democratic processes and the role of outsider imposition are especially significant here.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: NIMBY; Housing; Consultation; Ethnography; England; Community; Activism
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races > HT0401 Rural groups. Rural sociology
Depositing User: Elizabeth Harrison
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2019 09:56
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2020 01:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/83254

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