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Pride(s) in place(s): interdisciplinary perspectives on pride

Call for Papers

Royal Geographical Society Conference, London, 29 Aug – 1 Sept 2023


Michael Howcroft (University of Southampton):

Joseph Owen (University of Southampton)

Catherine Baker (University of Hull)

David Atkinson (University of Hull)


This call invites scholars from diverse disciplines to explore the multitudes of pride in place. This list is non-exhaustive—but papers might engage with local and civic pride, regional pride, national or supranational pride, queer pride, diasporic pride, black pride, mad pride, Asian pride, pride across the life course, and pride in associational communities such as sports clubs, employment and party politics. The organisers welcome theoretical, methodological and empirical papers that address the following indicative topics:

· Defining and conceptualising: what are the cultural and historical specificities of “pride in place”? How is the emotion understood and valued within and beyond the UK and how has it manifested itself in previous eras?

· Pride and policy: why are feelings of belonging so important to communities, and why do policymakers seek to mobilise these emotions? In turn, how does this strategy affect the communities whose pride is sought? How might invoking pride in place lead to better decision making? How might pride in place affect key policy areas such as housing, crime, education, transport, environment and culture?

· The politics of pride: how do understandings of pride in place differ across the political spectrum? Are (for example) cosmopolitanism, localism, municipalism and communitarianism informed by these differences?

· Temporalities: what happens “after” pride? Where does pride “go”? What are the relationships between pride, the past and the future?

· Scale and intersections: at what scales does pride in place operate and how do differing forms of pride (e.g. civic and LGBTQ+) intersect, layer or conflict with one another?

The UK government’s post-Brexit Levelling Up agenda claims to address the country’s historical geographic inequalities and alleviate the declining economic fortunes of many left-behind towns and places. The Levelling Up White Paper highlights the political value of pride in place: “restoring local pride” is one of its guiding missions. Indeed, galvanising pride in the electorate about the places where people live has become increasingly important to policymakers (Collins 2017, Shaw et al, 2022). The rhetoric of community empowerment and the decentralisation of power is, after all, a longstanding feature of British politics (Giovannini, 2018). Beyond the UK, France’s ‘Action Coeur de Ville’ (loosely translated as ‘reviving the heart of the city’) aims to revitalise the urban centres of small and medium-sized towns. In Japan, many municipalities have adopted ‘civic pride charters’, which explicitly define how local pride is constituted and managed (Shaw et al., 2022). Foregrounding emotion as a key policy outcome raises significant ethical and ideological questions. We are mindful that pride (and shame) ‘may be the most powerful forces in the human world’ (Scheff: 1994, 277). These forces can be significantly amplified, politicised and weaponised, particularly when coupled with place and its issues of boundary, governance and identity.

The collective act of reclaiming and celebrating pride has been enormously powerful in addressing stigmatisation of many kinds, for effecting legal and social change, and for providing a positive sense of identity and community for many people (Fortier, 2005; Berkel et al., 2009; Silverstone, 2012; Ammaturo, 2016; Matebeni, 2018; Hoffman, 2019). Yet the Levelling Up agenda fails to account for such collectives and fails to address the ideologies and social forces that facilitate, reinforce, undermine and reconfigure the emotional experiences of pride, particularly its 'us' and 'them' dynamics (Sullivan, 2014). Despite the White Paper’s emphasis on data, monitoring and evaluation, the measuring and analysis of emotion is notoriously problematic, while the ways people feel about their place remain relatively undefined and under-examined in policy documents and practice. Criticised for its pork barrelling and empty boosterism (Hanretty, 2022; Jennings et al., 2022, Dobson, 2022), Levelling Up has nevertheless shown that pride can be a powerful instrument of social structuring that prompts political and public imaginaries. Might interrogating pride offer opportunities to re-investigate and reappraise this emotion beyond the banal, homogenising and sanitising limitations of neoliberal entrepreneurial scripts?

Please send a 250 word abstract (and title, name, affiliation, contact details) to Michael Howcroft ( by Friday, 10 March 2023. We will inform selected papers by Friday, 17 March 2023.

Please indicate if you plan to attend in person, virtually or asynchronously.


Ammaturo, F.R. (2016) Spaces of Pride: A Visual Ethnography of Gay Pride Parades in Italy and the United Kingdom, Social Movement Studies, 15:1, 19-40

Berkel, C., Murry, V. M., Hurt, T. R., Chen, Y.-f., Brody, G. H., Simons, R. L., Cutrona, C. and Gibbons, F. X. (2009) It Takes a Village: Protecting Rural African American Youth in the Context of Racism. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 38(2), 175-188.

Collins, T. (2017) Governing through civic pride: pride and policy in local government, in Jupp, E., Pykett, J., Smith, F.. (ed), Emotional states. London: Routledge.

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (2022) Levelling up white paper. Available at publications/levelling-up-the-united-kingdom

Dobson, J. (2022) Boosterism and belonging: ‘pride in place’and the levelling-up agenda. People, Place and Policy, 16(2), 170-176.

Fortier, A.-M. (2005) Pride politics and multiculturalist citizenship. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 28(3), 559-578.

Giovannini, A. (2018) The uneven governance of devolution deals in Yorkshire: opportunities, challenges and local (di)visions, in Berry, C. and Giovannini, A. (eds), Developing England’s North. The political economy of the Northern Powerhouse. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 163-196.

Hanretty, C. (2021) The pork barrel politics of the Towns Fund. The Political Quarterly, 92(1), 7-13.

Hoffman, G. A. (2019) Public mental health without the health? Challenges and contributions from the Mad Pride and neurodiversity paradigms, in Cratsley, K. and Radden, J. (eds), Developments in Neuroethics and Bioethics. Academic Press, 289-326.

Jennings, W., Mckay, L. and Stoker, G. (2021) The Politics of Levelling Up. The Political Quarterly, 92(2), 302-311.

Matebeni, Z. (2018) Ihlazo: Pride and the politics of race and space in Johannesburg and Cape Town, Critical African Studies, 10:3, 315-328

Payne, W. J. (2021). Queer urban activism under state impunity: Encountering an LGBTTTI Pride archive in Chilpancingo, Mexico. Urban Studies, 58(7), 1327–1345.

Scheff, T. (1994) Emotions and identity: A theory of ethnic nationalism, in Calhoun, C. (ed), Social theory and the politics of identity. Oxford: Blackwell.

Shaw, J., Garling, O. and Kenny, M. (2022) Townscapes: Pride in place. Cambridge: Bennett Institute for Public Policy: Available online:

Silverstone, C. (2012) Duckie's gay shame: Critiquing pride and selling shame in club performance1. Contemporary Theatre Review, 22(1), 62-78.

Stella, F. (2013). Queer Space, Pride, and Shame in Moscow. Slavic Review, 72(3), 458-480. doi:10.5612/slavicreview.72.3.0458

Sullivan, G. B. (2014) Expressions of pride and proud feelings, in Sullivan, G. B. (ed), Understanding collective pride and group identity: New directions in emotion theory, research and practice. London: Routledge.


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