Small Towns, Austere Times

Small Towns, Austere Times

The Dialectics of Deracinated Localism

This book explores small town austere Britain.


This book explores small town austere Britain.
The text argues for a return to both dialectical thinking and politicized community research, in light of the current 'austere' landscape, in order to intellectually militate against centre-right think tanks. It also urges for a kind of epistemological anarchism, which refuses to view the small towns which are the subject of the book through existing 'common sense' paradigms, particularly those of state and capital, but also those of cosy localism.


In his 'Little poems in prose' Baudelaire talks about feeling drunk on the promiscuity of the crowds on the Paris boulevards. There would soon be a mini-genre in painting: the rag-picker, who lived in a no-man's land at the edge of the city which doesn't immediately become countryside. Sociology had to be invented to expole new ways of living. Britain has made a big contribution in the work of Raymond Williams and that of Stuart Hall and colleagues in Birmingham. Steve Hanson recently published a superb catalogue essay for a photographic project on the Oldam Road in Manchester by Charlie Meecham. Another compliment I would pay Steve is that I get echoes of another explorer of these working-class landscapes, Ray Gosling. The exigences of a certain version of progress, and its inevitable upheavals and messes are endlessly defended as 'realistic'. As George Orwell might have said, they are a whole lot more real for some than for others. ~ Dr Robert Galeta, Lecturer, Bradford School of Arts and Media, Bradford College, and translator of Deleuze's Cinema 2.

Steve Hanson
Steve Hanson Dr. Steve Hanson is a writer and researcher. He has lectured at Goldsmiths, in the Sociology department, at MMU and the University of Salfor...
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