Keep it looking beautiful! Historicised residential architecture as a means of reproducing the middle class self

Sabine Meier

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This paper explores how residents of Helmond Brandevoort, a neotraditional neighbourhood in the Netherlands, socially construct a 'classed' place identity and what role the historicised architecture plays within that process. Given that place identity is constructed through social and cultural practices, the paper argues that residents' consumption of historicised environment is bound up with drawing symbolic boundaries which were explored here by analysing residents’ narratives. Two prominent types of narratives were found: their aesthetic judgement of the residential environment and the way they use it. Through these layered narratives, all interviewees appear to use historicized aesthetics to classify themselves as part of a valued social category. In the neighbourhood explored, the way of boundary drawing based on fostering moral judgements of social behaviour accompanied by efforts to keep neighbourhoods' historicised image unchanged.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventEuropean Architectural History Network (EAHN) Conference 2012: Second International Meeting - Brussels, Belgium
Duration: 31 May 20123 Jun 2012
Conference number: 2nd


ConferenceEuropean Architectural History Network (EAHN) Conference 2012
Abbreviated titleEAHN 2012


  • architecture
  • building construction
  • historical consciousness

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