Camilla Lewis, School of Social Sciences, Social Anthropology
Class, community and 'social cohesion': the effects of urban regeneration in East Manchester
For my PhD in Social Anthropology I conducted twelve months participant observation in East Manchester. This involved living in the area, spending time with local people, observing their practices in institutions, informal setting and conducting interviews. East Manchester was ravaged by the effects of deindustrialisation, causing widespread unemployment and social problems. In the 1990s parts of the region were recognised as some of the most deprived areas of the country. In 2000 a multifaceted regeneration project, New Deal for Communities, was introduced in Clayton, Openshaw and Beswick to transform the physical landscape and establish institutions attempting to ensure lasting community cohesion.
My ethnographic findings describe how individuals, in their everyday lives, have responded to the radical regeneration changes. My thesis examines the dynamics of gender, ethnicity and social class. In particular, I explore how, in this context, ideas about identity are shaped by the drive for social change. I hope this research will contribute to contemporary anthropological discussions about how individuals construct ideas about belonging to a community and to wider policy debates about social cohesion and exclusion, social class and inequality.