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Oysteropolis: Animals in Coastal Gentrification

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironment and Planning E: Nature and Space
Accepted/In press25 May 2021

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  • Oysteropolis - Accepted version 25.05.21

    Oysterfication_Accepted_version_25.05.21.docx, 59.4 KB, application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document

    Uploaded date:26 May 2021

    Version:Accepted author manuscript

King's Authors

Abstract

Gentrification scholars have increasingly acknowledged the importance of socio-nature in encouraging the revaluation of place. Yet relatively little has been said about the role non-human animals play in changing the material, sensory and affective qualities of place and the ways that they provoke capital investment. In this paper we provide a corrective by exploring the role of the oyster in the ongoing gentrification of a coastal community (Whitstable in Kent, South East England). The complex natural and social history of oysters in Whitstable shows that how animal agency has contributed to processes of gentrification. Oysters are visceral objects whose affective qualities create hierarchies of taste and dis-taste through processes of desire and disgust. This animal is a marker of class change that positions the ‘local’ within wider circuits of consumption. Further, oysters are labouring bodies that reconstitutes the coastal ecosystem on which the town depends. The seemingly inert bivalve oyster has accompanied and encouraged the gentrification of the town of Whitstable. The arguments illustrate that non-human animals can be – economically, culturally and ecologically - vital and lively components within the dynamic material processes that support gentrification.

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