Urban Displacement in Salford: A Temporal, Relational and Biographical Analysis

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis focuses on urban displacement through a temporal, relational and biographical lens. The study builds on existing literature on displacement that seeks to understand the way communities are dismantled as a result of urban redevelopment strategies and the varied effects that displacement has on individuals. The thesis however argues that there are gaps in the literature relating to temporality and relationality. Developing a novel conceptual framework that is attuned to the multidimensionality of how we encounter the world, the study makes a case for understanding the personal lived experience of displacement over time. The focus lies on Salford, a city in the north-west of England, whose urban landscape has been repeatedly demolished over time and thousands of residents displaced over several decades. The research adopts a qualitative methodology that is attentive to temporality and relationality, and that foregrounds biography as an important framework through which to understand experiences of displacement. The contributions of the thesis are structured around three main themes that have not adequately been dealt with in the displacement literature. The first is a temporal argument about demolition, which focuses on how displaced residents narrate and remember the material upheaval and destruction brought about by demolition programmes as a key part of their lived experience of displacement already long before the actual physical relocation took place. The second contribution also relates to temporality. The thesis explores the longer-term impacts of displacement on residents lives, and the different ways that past experiences of displacement permeate people's present lives. The third contribution of the thesis is that it brings a relational lens to the study of displacement by foregrounding the personal and relational entanglements in which people are embedded as important influences on how they experience displacement. The thesis offers complex insight into the lived experience of displacement over time from residents' perspectives, narrated and made sense of through their own biographical stories. Tending to the relational, temporal and biographical dimensions of lived experience reveals the multidimensional and complex temporal nature of displacement that must be understood as intertwined with people's relational and social contexts, which shift over time. Ultimately, looking anew at displacement using different and novel conceptual frameworks reveals a complex kaleidoscope-like image of displacement which sheds a fresh light on the class politics inherent within urban redevelopment strategies. Displacement is shown as a process that extends into the present and future, differently conditioning and colouring biographical experience over time, in ways that are both dramatic and mundane, as well as layered. This thesis thus explicates the way class politics and inequalities stretch out for people over many decades, running parallel to the forever changing city of Salford where both areas and residents are repeatedly targeted time and again by revanchist demolition and development policies.
Date of Award31 Dec 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorKevin Ward (Supervisor), Camilla Lewis (Supervisor) & Vanessa May (Supervisor)

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