chapter  7
17 Pages

The Senses, the City and Social Formation

WithAlex Rhys-Taylor

Since the re-emergence of the senses as subjects of serious social scientific consideration some two decades or more ago, we have greatly increased our understanding of their sociological roles. We understand better their significance to individual biographies’ culture, as well as their ongoing transformation through history. In cities, where ‘individual’ tastes and distastes aggregate, the interaction between sensate bodies and the city’s variegated topography is particularly important to the ongoing spatialization of distinct socioeconomic groups. However, while sensoria – the material sensory artefact – are a necessary part of this process, it is sensibilities – the bundle of formal and informal codes for interpreting sensoria – upon which the ossification of the social strata pivots. The social orders through which opportunities, wealth and resources are distributed across London are partly reproduced through regimes of taste and distaste.