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University students and city centres - the formation of exclusive geographies - The case of Bristol, UK

Lookup NU author(s): Paul Chatterton


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This paper draws upon research which analysed the provision of popular culture for university students in Bristol city centre. The research suggests that the provision is aimed at a cohort of 'traditional' adolescent, middle- and upper-class students based at the University of Bristol. Popular culture provision for these students is undertaken within an infrastructure of student-focused venues which create 'pathways' of activity through the city. This infrastructure is constructed both through symbolic geographies of student life and actual interventions in the landscape, and through processes by which the 'rules' of student life are learnt and unlearned. There are a small number of privileged sites of consumption within this infrastructure, the use of which is motivated by a strong desire for association among traditional students. The temporal and spatial framework of this popular culture provision has important consequences for the city, especially at a time of further increases in the number of university students in Britain. In particular, traditional students represent non-exploratory, middle ground cultural actors and are part of a patchwork of groups whose activities are re-imaging city centres, However, in contrast to much recent work which examines city centre consumption by certain groups, I argue that the seasonal migration of adolescent and wealthy university students to many British cities is located within the trend towards the growth of segregated entertainment provision and the emergence of geographies of exclusion in city centres. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Chatterton P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Geoforum

Year: 1999

Volume: 30

Issue: 2

Pages: 117-133

Print publication date: 01/05/1999

ISSN (print): 0016-7185

ISSN (electronic): 1872-9398

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/S0016-7185(98)00028-1


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