The Credit Crunch and the High Street: ‘Coming like a Ghost Town’

The Credit Crunch and the High Street: ‘Coming like a Ghost Town’ Drawing on primary visual data and secondary sources this rapid response piece speculates on the changes to the British high street as a consequence of the credit crunch. The changes are much more profound than simply the loss of a place to shop. For both individuals and wider society the changes to the British high street carry implications for issues of self-identity, social contacts and social exclusion. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sociological Research Online SAGE

The Credit Crunch and the High Street: ‘Coming like a Ghost Town’

The Credit Crunch and the High Street: ‘Coming like a Ghost Town’

Drawing on primary visual data and secondary sources this rapid response piece speculates on the changes to the British high street as a consequence of the credit crunch. The changes are much more profound than simply the loss of a place to shop. For both individuals and wider society the changes to the British high street carry implications for issues of self-identity, social contacts and social exclusion. Keywords: Credit Crunch, High Street, Visual Sociology, Urban, Consumerism, Social Exclusion Introduction 1.1 The title of this rapid response article alludes to The Specials 1981 dub-reggae anthem Ghost Town. The song's lyrics lamented the loss of a vibrant city-life of clubs, music venues and shops that the recession of the early 1980s had transformed into desolate, empty and hostile streets. In the current recession, or more popularly the 'credit crunch', the song may once again possess a relevance given events unfolding on the British high street. Both regional and national media report local shops and national chain-stores closing down and the possible dire consequences this may bring. The threat of many high streets becoming 'ghosts towns' appears to be at least a cause for concern, if not a real possibility. 1.2 The changes occurring in the high street are of sociological interest for the following reasons. In a consumerist society the activities, interactions and cultures of shopping are integral elements of people's lives, providing an important locus and focus for social interaction and identity. The high street and other consumerist spaces frame people's lives, providing the landscape in which the production of identity and the meeting of others can take place. The loss of, or substantial changes to, the high street could therefore lead to a variety of diverse negative outcomes, such as a loss of social contacts, and the destabilising of self-identity, in addition to the more expected problems of crime and poor...
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Publisher
SAGE Publications
Copyright
© 2009 SAGE Publications and the British Sociological Association
ISSN
1360-7804
eISSN
1360-7804
D.O.I.
10.5153/sro.1926
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Drawing on primary visual data and secondary sources this rapid response piece speculates on the changes to the British high street as a consequence of the credit crunch. The changes are much more profound than simply the loss of a place to shop. For both individuals and wider society the changes to the British high street carry implications for issues of self-identity, social contacts and social exclusion.

Journal

Sociological Research OnlineSAGE

Published: Mar 1, 2009

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