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Dr Mark Jayne - research

Research interests

My research interests focus on urban social and cultural geography. In particular I am concerned with theorizing the intersections of consumption, production, regulation, governance and policy. I have also written on issues such as identity, lifestyle and forms of sociability, affect, emotions and embodiment.

The central theoretical concern of my work is to re-think ‘the city’; to interrogate political and economic practices and processes through social and cultural analysis; and to understand geographies of alcohol, drinking and drunkenness.

Specifically, I seek to make a leading contribution to geographical knowledge relating to the following interrelated and overlapping issues:

City cultures and consumption

My research into city cultures and consumption focuses on the ways in which cities are moulded by consumption and how consumption is moulded by cities. Starting with my PhD thesis Geographies of Consumption and Urban Regeneration my initial work identified the ways in which presence (or not) of consumption cultures has affected the ability of cities to compete in a highly competitive urban hierarchy. This culminated in the publication of a single authored book entitled Cities and Consumption (Routledge 2005) which has sold around 6000 copies (the first volume in a new series entitled Critical Introduction to Urbanism edited by Malcolm Miles and John Rennie Short) and has received positive reviews in the journals Progress in Human Geography and Urban Studies.

I have also been involved in advancing what has been the first sustained engagement by geographers with alcohol, drinking and drunkenness. Working with Prof. Gill Valentine (University of Leeds), Prof. Sarah Holloway (Loughborough University) and Dr Myles Gould (University of Leeds) the research has focused on connections, similarities, differences and mobilities between supranational, national, regional, and local spatial scales in order to offer new insights into the complex interpenetrations of political, economic, social, cultural, spatial and embodied and emotional geographies bound up with geographies of alcohol, drinking and drunkenness.

For example, a research project entitled Family Life and Alcohol Consumption: a Study of the Transmission of Drinking Practices, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (with Prof Gill Valentine and Dr Myles Gould) focused on the transmission of alcohol consumption cultures within families and focused on children aged 5-12. I also was involved in a Joseph Rowntree funded project (led by Prof. Gill Valentine and Dr. Sarah Holloway) entitled Drinking Places: Social Geographies of Consumption exploring the impact of socio-economic processes in shaping place-specific cultures of alcohol consumption in two contrasting geographical communities. Twelve papers have already been published from this research (in Progress in Human Geography, Antipode, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Geoforum, Environment and Planning A, Journal of Rural Studies, Space and Polity, Health and  Place  and Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy). A special edition of the high profile ´alcohol studies´ journal Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy was also published in 2008, and a research monograph entitled Alcohol, Drinking, Drunkenness: (Dis)Orderly Spaces (Ashgate) was published in 2011. The final report can be viewed here.

The urban order

During my PhD research I became increasingly frustrated that urban theory has been dominated by the study of just a handful of big cities in the Global North. My study of the ‘ordering’ of cities has thus focused on considering what is lost as a consequence of this bias. To this end, my theoretical goal has been to develop understanding of the urban world as being characterized by heterogeneity and diversity around two substantive topics:

Firstly, I have focused on theorising the political, economic, social, cultural and spatial conditions that impact on cities’ ability to compete at different spatial scales of the urban hierarchy. This was initially pursued through a book chapter looking at the small city as an archetypal European urban form (in Urbanism and Globalisation edited by Frank Eckardt and Dieter Hassenpflug) and more substantively in a book (edited with David Bell) entitled, Small Cities: Urban Experience Beyond the Metropolis (Routledge 2006). The book has sold around 3000 copies and is the first volume to think about and discuss the long-ignored topic of small cities and has been followed by an agenda-setting journal article published in the International Journal of Urban and Regional research. Small Cities has received positive reviews in the journals Urban Studies and Progress in Human Geography. I have also published a paper on the cultural economy of small cities in Geography Compass (with Chris Gibson, Gordon Waitt and David Bell) and am working with colleagues in Canada, USA, Australia and Europe to develop an international research agenda focused on small cities.

Secondly, I have edited a collection entitled Urban Theory Beyond ‘the West’: A World of Cities (with Tim Edensor, Routledge 2011) which contains chapters from leading scholars from around the world. Past and current conceptual developments are reviewed and organised into four parts: ‘De-centring the City’ offers critical perspectives on re-imagining urban theoretical debates through consideration of the diversity and heterogeneity of city life; ‘Order/Disorder’ focuses on the political, physical and everyday ways in which cities are regulated and used in ways that confound this ordering; ‘Mobilities’ explores the movements of people, ideas and policy in cities and between them; and ‘Imaginaries’ investigates how urbanity is differently perceived and experienced. There are there kinds of chapters published in the volume; theories generated about urbanity ‘beyond the West’; critiques, reworking or refining of ‘Western’ urban theory based upon conceptual reflection on cities beyond ‘the West’; and hybrid approaches that develop both of these perspectives.

Urban and regional regeneration

During my PhD work I began to look at urban and regional restructuring and the increasing spatial and social polarisation of the city. This was initially focused on investigating the development of distinct spaces such as urban villages and quarters, culminating in several book chapters (in City Visions edited by David Bell and Azzadine Hadour, and Reclaiming Stoke-on-Trent edited by Tim Edensor). Following this work I jointly edited a book (with David Bell) entitled City of Quarters: Urban Villages in the Contemporary City (Ashgate 2004) which extended this interest beyond spaces such as cultural and ethnic quarters to also include marginalised spaces and places such as red-light districts and ghettos. The volume has sold around 3000 copies, and is now being regularly referenced in urban geography and cultural policy and planning literature and has received positive reviews in journals such as Social and Cultural Geography, Professional Geographer, European Journal of Communication, Capital and Class, Sociology, Journal of Nordregio, Housing Studies and Urban Policy and Research.

I have also been involved in a number of research and consultancy projects relating to the role of cultural and creative industries in urban and regional regeneration. This has overlapped with my academic writing focused on policy and practice at local, regional, national and international levels (Capital and Class, Environment Planning C: Government and Policy and Journal of Rural Studies). In particular I have investigated the way in which design has been used as a motif of regeneration (The International Journal of Cultural Policy and Local Economy). This work sought to critically assess the range of different practices and initiatives that are being drawn under the design-led umbrella, and has featured in the UK Governments Department of Culture Media and Sports landmark document Culture at the Heart of Regeneration.

Urban governance

My interest in urban and regional regeneration has primarily been focused on applying social and cultural analysis to political and economic practices and processes. Initially this included a consideration of the difficulty of representing the multiple ways in which individuals, organisations and institutions respond to regeneration initiatives. A paper published in Environment and Planning A discussed the conceptually important but nonetheless difficult task of unpacking the complex ways in which individuals and groups take up strategic positions when consuming urban regeneration initiatives. More decently I have also been interested in theorising the new wave of democratically elected mayors in the UK by seeking to understand the role of such powerful individuals within urban regimes through analysis of social and cultural forms and practices (see papers published in Social and Cultural Geography and Geography Compass).

In addition I have also undertaken research funded by the University of Manchester’s Research Support Fund into the city twinning. Twinning, an activity initiated in Europe at the end of the second world-war in order to facilitate reconciliation via economic and cultural relationships is now ubiquitous and most cities throughout the world have multiple twin partners. Despite its prevalence, however, there has not been a major study or a significant body of literature that addresses this important topic. Based on interviews with key informants this research has investigated the development, current motivations, practices and outcomes of Manchester’s international urban twinning partnerships in relation to the relationality/territoriality of urban governance. Papers from this research has been published in Urban Studies and  City: Analysis of Urban Trends, Culture, Theory (with Phil Hubbard and David Bell).