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Class places and place classes: Geodemographics and the spatialization of class

Parker, S., Uprichard, E. and Burrows, R. (2007) Class places and place classes: Geodemographics and the spatialization of class. Information, Communication and Society, 10 (6). pp. 901-920. ISSN 1369-118X

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This paper argues that the 'spatial turn' in the sociology of class - the clustering of people with a similar habitus into what we might think of as 'class places' - is connected in a number of important ways with the ongoing informatization of place, particularly as manifest in the urban informatics technology of geodemographics. This is a technology concerned with the development of the classification of places to commercial and policy ends - the assigning of postcodes to a set of mutually exclusive and exhaustive categories, or 'place classes'. What interests the authors is the manner in which there is a strong concordance between the conclusions of academic sociologists working on the spatialization of class and those of - what might be thought of as - 'commercial sociologists' working in the geodemographics industry. Although the conceptual argot is very different, both have in common an interest in the codification and spatial mapping of habitus, and both arrive at very similar substantive conclusions about contemporary processes of sociocultural spatial clustering. But the authors' interest is not just in the observation that there is an analytic convergence in academic and commercial concerns with the relationship between 'class places' and 'place classes'; rather, it is in their possible co-construction. They argue that geodemographic classifications are not only sociologically important phenomena but also represent an interesting example of a new form of software-mediated recursive urban ontology.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Politics (York)
The University of York > Sociology (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 22 May 2009 11:39
Last Modified: 22 May 2009 11:39
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13691180701751122
Status: Published
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Identification Number: 10.1080/13691180701751122
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/6333

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