Saturday, October 29, 2011

Identity, place and Eastbourne

More pics from Eastbourne, this time of interest to DD101 students, on the creation of identity and difference. In this case what we're looking at is the manufacturing of identity, and of difference, through the artificial creation of individuality. I came upon this gated housing estate being built while I was out for a walk.

First, they picture the beach and the sea at Eastbourne. This estate is miles from the sea. The word "Heights" in the name is a bit of a giveaway.

This manufactured community is intended for the over 45s only. No audible children or music etc. (Click on the image to expand it, and you will see the legend on the side of the van.)

This is where it gets really artificial. The estate is still being built while some people are already living there. The bungalows are being built and sold with their own "individuality" already established. This one is sold with its Chinese themed decoration ready installed. The next one, difficult to see here, has, with calculated incongruity, a Beatrix Potter theme. And so on down the street.

I don't know how long this shed has been in place, but not long enough to grow all the creeper. That was installed along with the shed.

Part of this is about the manufacture of community by putting up buildings, putting a (admittedly porous) fence around them and artificially delineating who should live in them. All of those are grist to the mill of the social science student. But in this case there's a specific application to the first few chapters of DD101, where the theme is difference and inequality. In this case the developers, as well as manufacturing community, are manufacturing difference - or to put it another way, manufacturing individuality. Treat it as a street, like the streets you've been examining so far in DD101. But note that this time any differences or individualities you see in the exterior of the bungalows has been put there deliberately and randomly by the developers.

The seaside

Just some shots I took at Eastbourne the other day.

They make a different class of beach hut there (running water and gas supplied).

They have their own tea chalet round the back. The Union Jack provides an extra touch of something.

And a Dotto train.

There's a very nice pier, and some winches. These are not like the winches at Hastings, which will be illustrated later.

Judging from the rust on the wire, these winches don't get used much.

This is an exercise in the creation of a seaside place and experience. The tea chalet, the train, the pier, and the winches all recall the nineteenth century creation of the seaside atmosphere. It's soggy with nostalgia, to quote Tom Lehrer. For AA100 students there's a lot here than resonates with the material in Book Four.