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Material–temporal registers of belonging: Theorising the interplay between temporality and the built environment

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Camilla Lewis



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


This paper explores the interplay of temporality and the built environment in diverging discourses of belonging at Claremont Court, a modernist housing scheme in Edinburgh which was designed in 1958 by Sir Basil Spence, a key figure of post-war architecture. It explores belonging to place as a complex temporal process, in which the individual is connected to the built environment through various material–temporal registers. While existing analyses of belonging demonstrate that it is a fundamentally temporal experience, not enough is known about belonging as a temporal phenomenon. To fill this gap, our analysis reveals how multiple temporalities of the built environment are entwined with residents’ biographies, everyday life and future aspirations, which shape their varied sense of belonging. To conclude, we argue not only for theorising the temporal nature of belonging, but also how the temporality of the built environment shapes people’s sense of belonging. In doing so, we extend the literature on belonging by theorising the relationship between temporality and the built environment with the help of the concept of material–temporal registers.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lewis C, May V

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Time and Society

Year: 2019

Volume: 29

Issue: 1

Pages: 28-50

Print publication date: 01/02/2020

Online publication date: 22/09/2019

Acceptance date: 13/08/2018

Date deposited: 23/09/2019

ISSN (print): 0961-463X

ISSN (electronic): 1461-7463

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/0961463X19873801


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