Below is an extract from the essay I submitted as part of this project:
How does heritage relate to the everyday? One aspect of heritage is the capturing or interpretation of unspoken traditions and habits of everyday life, for example oral traditions which are not material. Heritage is part of a cultural process of meaning making, which is gradual, tentative, discontinuous, ‘inseparable from the ingrained ritual associated with practices of everyday life’ (Harvey, 2001, p.336).
Heritage of the ‘everyday now competes with the bias towards the more spectacular and monumental relics of the past’ (Schofield, 1996, p.335) but for Wright (1985) it also legitimises and promotes more elitist readings of heritage. Firstly, he suggests that nostalgia is a result of boredom of the repetitive thinking required by modern life. Secondly, heritage uses everyday terms to mask inequalities in society, for example referring to monarchy as the royal family, which makes familiar (literally) a power structure dependent on subservience of the masses. Heritage can be complicit in obscuring truth, but it can also potentially uncover and reformulate it, through the interpretation of everyday experience: life histories, family, work and bus travel.
2. ON THE BUS
The first bus ran between Kingston, Horsefair and Lower Kingswood, The Fox via Sutton on September 7th 1921. I leave the house at around 8.30am and walk to my nearest stop, catching the first 213 in the Kingston direction. 19 buses run daily at 6 to 8 minute intervals, through 19th and 20th century suburbia. I wonder how many thousands of people have performed the same routine over the years. On the bus I sit still, whilst moving; I read a book and eavesdrop on strangers’ gossip; time is unpredictable as I travel through places; I am alone but also with others. Together, we passengers, the driver, the experiences we share and the physical object, become the bus…
Transport is about stories in places – the narrative of journey. The next part of this essay develops concepts surrounding everyday bus travel: mobility, place and community.
2.1 Movement in Place: Mobility
Mobility is both something we possess and something we perform. It is the ability to move our bodies in space but it is also a measure of how we relate to places, and the ease with which we negotiate our position in society. As Cresswell states, ‘it is an ethical and political issue as much as a utilitarian and practical one’ (2010, p.552) about ‘filling time spent on the move with significance’ (p.554).
The relationship between mobility and heritage can be understood in two ways: through tourism and the everyday construction of place.