Super-diverse street: a "trans-ethnography" across migrant localities

Hall, S.

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Hall, S. M. (2015). Super-diverse street: a ‘trans-ethnography’across migrant localities. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 38(1), 22-37.

City , Ethnography , Locality , Migration , Street , Super-diversity

This paper emerges from an ethnography of the economic and cultural life of Rye Lane, an intensely multi-ethnic street in Peckham, South London. The effects of accelerated migration into London are explored through the reshaping and diversification of its interior, street and city spaces. A ‘trans-ethnography’ is pursued across the compendium of micro-, meso- and macro-urban spaces, without reifying one above the other. The ethnographic stretch across intimate, collective and symbolic city spaces serves to connect how the restrictions and circuits of urban migration have different impacts and expressions in these distinctive but interrelated urban localities. The paper argues for a trans-ethnography that engages within and across a compendium of urban localities, to understand how accelerated migration and urban ‘super-diversity’ transform the contemporary global city.

Main finding
Rye Lane is an intensely ethnically diverse high street in in Peckham, London. The retail practices and spaces reveal the hidden and overt features of contemporary super-diversity and the complex reshaping and diversification of its interior, street and city space. The economic and cultural diversity of the street is too complex and dynamic for planners to comprehend and address in the redevelopment plan of the area. The question remains how to make migration and diversity more visible in the city and have planners understand the value it can bring to the national level policies for supporting high streets. Locality and lived reality should be studied through the distinct and connected micro, meso and macro spaces to understand the constantly altering of migration processes, retail practices and adaptation.

Description of method used in the article
Different methods are used for each scale complemented with interviews with real estate agent and local officers. City-scale: data sets on population census, indices of deprivation and locality that spatialize and visualize where migrants currently locate across London Street-scale: face-to-face survey of 105 independent proprietors along Rye Lane and spatial mapping of the findings Interior-scale: mapping and drawing of interior floor spaces and combined mapping with observation and interviews

Policy implications

Organising categories

Economic Transactions
Field Observations Interviews Spatial Methods
Physical types
Geographic locations