The Only Class in Town? Gentrification and the Middle‐Class Colonization of the City and the Urban Imagination


This essay argues that Tom Slater’s article makes several important points regarding what he rightly suggests is the disappearance of a critical edge from much of the recent gentrification literature. It explores one of these points in greater depth, i.e. the notion that the working class occupy a ‘backstage’ role vis‐à‐vis the analysis of gentrification. This is done via a discussion of gentrification and London’s class structure in relation to the work of Tim Butler and Chris Hamnett. The essay makes a plea for more ‘bottom up’ accounts of gentrification which focus upon the urban working class, especially in relation to contemporary processes of policy‐driven state‐led gentrification.