A Tale of Two Cities: Global Change, Local Feeling, and Everyday Life in the North of England: A Study in Manchester and Sheffield

A Tale of Two Cities: Global Change, Local Feeling, and Everyday Life in the North of England: A Study in Manchester and Sheffield

A Tale of Two Cities: Global Change, Local Feeling, and Everyday Life in the North of England: A Study in Manchester and Sheffield

A Tale of Two Cities: Global Change, Local Feeling, and Everyday Life in the North of England: A Study in Manchester and Sheffield

Synopsis

A Tale of Two Cities is a study of two major cities, Manchester and Sheffield. Drawing on the work of major theorists, the authors explore the everyday life, making contributions to our understanding of the defining activities of life.

Excerpt

We are very pleased that this book is appearing in the International Library of Sociology. We are aware that it is a risky venture for Routledge, as it has been in some ways for us as authors. It is, first, an extended piece of writing—especially on a topic which appears at first sight to have a merely local focus on the North of England (albeit in two rather large localities)—and we are aware that the preference of some publishers (and of many readers) in the accelerated times in which we live is for short, summary texts, preferably in bullet points and with executive summaries, and with international or global significance. But this book is the product of a lot of detailed ‘focus group’ work with people living in Manchester and Sheffield, and we have found it impossible to do justice to their concerns for their cities in fewer words. We have also wanted to advance an extended and detailed analysis of these cities and their different peoples (the dominant and subordinate groups who constitute their ‘general public’) which takes account of their own specific industrial history and post-industrial present (that is, actually to attempt to connect ‘the local’ to ‘the global’)—an objective which is everywhere recommended, but very rarely achieved. In this last respect, we should say, we were particularly inspired by Mike Davis’s wonderful analysis of Los Angeles, City of Quartz (Davis 1990), though also convinced that analysis of the ‘future of cities’ globally must attend not just to post-modern metropoles like ‘LA’ but also to the hundreds of de-industrialised old industrial cities in the Rust Belt of North America and in Europe as a whole—the declining industrial areas of western societies.

But this book is a risk in another sense. It does not set out specifically to be a theoretical statement as such—though we obviously think it has real theoretical content. There is no attempt in this book to erect and impose a theoretical template, from Marxist political economy, from the new geographies of space or from post-modern impressionism onto some kind of rigid ‘analysis’ of the city, or alternatively to advance a new Grand Theory of the City, even of the De-industrialised City. We have rather different concerns, probably best described as operating at the middle level between pure theory and outright empiricism. These are spelt out at greater length in the introductory pages of Chapter 1, in terms of an account of the circumstances that initially gave rise to a bid . . .

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