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Configuring conservation : an actor-network theory approach to studying the historic built environment

Elsmore, Ian Douglas (2008) Configuring conservation : an actor-network theory approach to studying the historic built environment. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis aims to assess if actor-network theory (Latour, 2005) is capable of providing an alternative method for looking at the redevelopment of the historic built environment. It is argued that although the historic built environment enjoys a great deal of public attention the relationship between buildings and the people that inhabit them has not been extensively studied. Examination of the literature suggests that most previous studies have either focused on the social elements or the physical elements in isolation and have failed to consider how one influences the other. It is proposed that actor-network theory may be able to provide an alternative ontological perspective that bridges this socialphysical divide and allows the influence of the relationships between the human and the non-human elements to be taken into consideration. In order to assess this, the thesis utilises a single case study that focuses on the redevelopment of the former brewery at Henley upon Thames in South Oxfords hire. The events leading to the closure of the brewery and the subsequent redevelopment of the site into two very different uses form the basis of the case study. Whilst initially these events are narrated using a traditional chronological format, the use of such a format hides the complex nature of the relationships that enable the case. Actor-network theory therefore provides a means of exposing some of this complexity and as a result can be regarded a valid methodology for the consideration of the historic built environment by transcending temporal boundaries and aligning local interests with global events. The thesis shows that the actor-network perspective allows the redevelopment of the historic built environment to be considered in a manner that demonstrates the complex interdependent relationships between the physical and the social dimensions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Urban Studies and Planning (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.505432
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 20 May 2014 14:43
Last Modified: 20 May 2014 14:43
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/6130

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