Collective Memory, Post-Industrial Masculine Identity, and the Built Environment of Newcastle-upon-Tyne

My research interests lie at the intersection of geography and the sociology of knowledge, and my work focuses on the relationship between collective memory, post-industrial masculinities, and the changing built environment of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. In order to explore this field of study, I have delineated three research questions:

  1. In what ways has the built environment of Newcastle been affected by broader capitalist processes?
  2. What is the nature of the relationship between collective memory and urban change in this context?
  3. How does this affect the construction of young masculine identities?

Academically speaking, this project will engage with, draw upon, and contribute to the emergent and relevant field of collective memory studies, a fundamentally interdisciplinary arena of debate that inspires a stimulating and productive dialogue between the social and natural sciences. It is strong on community engagement, working closely with participants who have grown up in the post-industrial landscapes of old colliery towns and former shipbuilding communities, and has the potential for significant instrumental and conceptual impact. Furthermore, my findings, while place-specific, are likely to be of pertinence to many cities in the advanced capitalist world that have undergone radical socioeconomic and physical restructuring.

It is not my intention to infer conclusions from decontextualized analysis, and to this end the interrogation of archival sources will provide a starting point for my research. The collaborative partnership that I have secured with Northumberland Archives will be invaluable in this regard, and it is hoped that my work will both benefit from and disseminate and promote their post-1970s oral recordings. Building on this, and seeking the kind of memory-rich material that will facilitate a study that allows its subtlety and complexity to be encountered, a three-stage methodology of semi-structured interviews, mental mapping, and mobile interviews will be employed.

Contact Details

Jonathon Finn (

MA Human Geography Student
NEDTC Doctoral Student

School of Geography, Politics and Sociology
Newcastle University
3rd Floor, Daysh Building, Claremont Road

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