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Globalisation, Gentrification and Spatial Hierarchies in and beyond New South Wales: the Local/Global Nexus

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Abstract

Popular visions of globalisation envisage the collapse of physical space as a significant determinant in social relations. The rapid speed at which movements of capital and information occur are touted as evidence that the constraints of physical space are eroding. The emergence of a global network of persons referred to as the transnational elite further supports these popular perceptions. Characterised as highly educated professionals employed in globally aligned industries, the transnational elite seemingly construct their individual and group identities beyond the scale of the local. However, research undertaken in Newcastle and Sydney with gentrifiers actively constructing their ‘global personas’ problematise popular discourses of globalisation as contributing to the decline of space as fundamental to identity construction. As an emergent élite global community, the gentrifiers create complex cognitive maps of spatial desirability reinforcing the significance of specific places. Through this process, places are ranked according to their global significance forming complex spatial hierarchies. Consequently, some places are cast as global and hence desirable, while others are stigmatised as undesirable non-global spaces.

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