Sharon Zukin reviews Suzanne Hall’s ‘City, Street and Citizen’ in the British Journal of Sociology

17 June 2013

Sharon Zukin of the City University of New York has reviewed Suzanne Hall’s ‘City, Street and Citizen’ in the British Journal of Sociology (volume 64, issue 1, p. 370-71). In the review, Zukin says:

“The city street is the most taken-for-granted space in the social imagination. But as both backstage and foreground, social space and built environment, it is the premiere arena of the urban public realm where citizens are formed. The street is where citizens are public, where they develop the behavioural repertoires of commonality and difference, belonging and strangeness, attachment and disgust. Though citizens are presumed to have identities that are formed in nations and communities, the street is where these identities take tangible shape, sound, sight, and smell. This process is especially marked on commercial roads outside the city centre, the local high streets where small shops and cafés create both the territory of culture and the culture of territory.

Drawing on the work of Craig Calhoun, Richard Sennett, Paul Gilroy, and Ash Amin, Suzanne Hall undertakes a minute examination of one local high street in South London, the Walworth Road, as a microcosm of urban cultural territory.

Suzanne Hall’s study encourages us to appreciate the cultural value of local shopping streets and to take action to protect their fragile social core. This book breathes new life into multicultural ideals by equating them with the ‘ordinary’ diversity of local shops.”
-Sharon Zukin, City University of New York, British Journal of Sociology, 2013