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Registration and Imagination in the 'Everyday' of Civic Space

Smith, Jessica (2021) Registration and Imagination in the 'Everyday' of Civic Space. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.87406) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:87406)

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https://doi.org/10.22024/UniKent/01.02.87406

Abstract

This thesis provides a room-by-room journey through the 'tessellating' spaces of a community hub where the public, cultural, and administrative services of local government are brought together under one roof. The research draws from a case study conducted at the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge - a building situated in Canterbury's (UK) historic city centre which provides local residents with a museum, library, gallery, café, tourist information desk, community exhibition, and registration hub. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, I locate imaginative potential in the Beaney's 'tessellating spaces' to explore the spatial dynamics of civil registration.

The thesis argues that there is a meaning scripted into the where of registration and that, by tracing the lines back from the certificate to its space of production, a spatial narrative can unfold which may otherwise be overlooked. The room-by-room journey begins with historical analysis which maps out a spatial transition from documenting the soul to registering the medico-legal body. The thesis continues by tracing these historical lines to and through the Beaney's lawscape. The mezzanine floor of the Beaney highlights the competing technologies of registration as a bureaucratic act of governance which identifies the individual yet also provides a public forum for the local community to perform secular ritual. The thesis develops these technologies through the conceptual understanding of registration as a process of 'journeying'. The state's documentation of the life course, I argue, invokes multiple lines of movement - the literal pathways of registrars and citizens, the figurative 'journeying' of legal identity, and the paper trails which follow. This process of 'journeying' weaves together the human and non-human, the bureaucratic and spiritual, the sacred and secular to contribute a more nuanced understanding of registration which draws upon its spatial dynamics to highlight the affective, imaginative, and immaterial registers of state documentation. The thesis, in doing so, provides a spatio-legal reading which contributes a fresh perspective to civil registration - a bureaucratic act of governance more typically framed in terms of its written and textual materiality than its spatial dynamics.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Herman, Didi
Thesis advisor: Kirton-Darling, Edward
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.87406
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2021 07:42 UTC
Last Modified: 20 May 2021 06:56 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/87406 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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