Living Alongside Railways: A Discursive Psychological Investigation of Identities of Place and Adapting to Disruption
The concepts of ‘place’ and ‘identity’ are increasingly being used to understand the relations between people and physical environments. This research utilised ‘place’ and ‘identity’ to examine how people negotiate environmental conditions such as vibration and noise within their talk around ‘place’ and ‘identity’. For the study context, living alongside railways was chosen as an ‘ordinary’ and ‘everyday’ physical feature within residential settings and also due to potential upcoming changes to the UK rail network such as new lines and increases in rail freight traffic. Ten qualitative interviews were generated with twelve residents living alongside the West Coast Main Line (WCML) railway in the North of England. Participants were recruited from the Defra-funded study ‘NANR209: Human Response to Vibration in Residential Environments’ (Defra, 2011). Using a discursive psychological approach, railways were portrayed as an insignificant aspect of ‘place’ in relation to the wider contexts of finding somewhere to live. Through the ‘lived ideologies’ of ‘the rural idyll’ and ‘a peaceful and quiet place’ that emerged within participants’ talk, railways could be considered as ‘disruptive’. Participants drew upon interpretative repertoires of adaptation to convey railways as initially ‘disruptive’ and as something ‘you get used to’ over time. Participants positioned themselves as being immune to the ‘disruption’ in that they no longer noticed the railways presence. Living alongside railways was presented as ‘commonplace’, which enabled participants to manage their identities of place and justify their continued residence within the context of ‘disruption’. ‘Place’ and ‘identity’ offer a way to examine how people make sense of living in places of ‘disruption’. Future research on how people make sense of continued residence alongside railways, particularly the role of adaptational repertoires, could assist in policy development.
Supervisors: Dr Phil Brown and Dr Anya Ahmed
Date: April 2013
Institution: University of Salford
Funded By: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Available here: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/30245/