Please note that this Research Seminar will be held virtually via Zoom on 16 November, 2020 (Monday), 19:00 p.m.
Participants will receive the Zoom link after registering with the Seminar from this link: https://hkuems1.hku.hk/hkuems/ec_hdetail.aspx?guest=Y&ueid=72725
The changing social structure of cities has intrigued social commentators, academics, politicians and the media for many years. There have been recurrent fears that cities are heading in a downward or negative direction. The last 50 years however have been characterised by a shift from industrialisation in most major western cities to de-industrialisation and post-industrialism with associated changes in occupational class structure.
Taken overall, three main positions have emerged regarding the changing occupational class structure of world cities and of western societies in general post 1970. First, the changes in industrial structure are said to be giving rise to an increasingly ‘professionalised’ occupational structure characterised by a growing number and proportion of professional, managerial and technical workers, many on high incomes. The second thesis is that of proletarianisation, whereby the changing structure of work has given rise to an increasing number of de-skilled low income jobs. The final thesis, which has become popular in recent years, is that of polarisation – a process whereby both the top and bottom ends of the occupational and income distribution are growing at the expense of the shrinking middle, creating what has sometimes been termed a ‘dual city’. This talk outlines these positions and, drawing on a wide range of evidence, asks which of these positions, if any, is correct
About the Speaker
Prof. Chris Hamnett is Emeritus Professor of Geography at King’s College London and visiting professor in the Department of Urban Management, Renmin university of China. He is the author or co-author of books including Winners and Losers: home ownership in modern Britain (1999), Shrinking the State: Privatisation in comparative perspective (1999), Unequal City: London in the Global Arena (2003) and with Tim Butler, Ethnicity, Class and Aspiration: understanding London’s new East End (2011). He is well known for his work on gentrification, inequality, housing, education and other topics. He has held visiting professorships at UBC, George Washington University, Science Po, Paris, LSE, ANU Canberra, Nuffield College Oxford, NIAS Netherlands and UESTC, Chengdu.
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