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A Feudal Way to Gentrify? The current understanding of gentrification and changes of social-topography in a medieval and early modern town

Svenska arkeologiska samfundet
Publication Date
  • Changes In Social Topography
  • Gentrification
  • Middle Ages
  • Early Modern Times
  • Towns
  • Agency
  • Structure
  • History And Archaeology
  • Political Science
  • Social Sciences


Gentrification is a current and often debated concept that concerns social changes in our cities. The concept relates to a development whereby areas earlier inhabited by less wealthy social groups are taken over by middle and upper middle-class residents. In the discussions of these changes, two perspectives have dominated. Representatives for the consumer perspective argue that gentrification occurs as a result of consumption preferences in the middle class. Representatives of the producer perspective argue that inner city areas are gentrified as a result of the movement of capital. In the article it is discussed whether it is possible to use the concept of gentrification, and if the conflicting perspectives can be tested, in a non-capitalistic setting. The case-study focuses on the changes in the social topography of the town of Malmö, at the time the second largest town in Denmark. The main issues investigated are whether these changes were produced within the feudal structures, how consumer preferences and agency interacted, and the relations between agency and structural constraints.

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