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Peter Kalu

Laundrettes as islands of communalism and bulwarks of social identity and community formation, set against the increasing anomie of neoliberal societies. The decline and fall of laundrettes. Semiotics of archaic machine instruction and public behaviour rules signage within laundrettes. The affective history of laundrettes in inner-city Manchester as narrated in a mytho-autobiographical form. Navigation of intimacy within the public space of the laundrette, including practices around loading and unloading underwear and other intimate and private-facing textiles. Hierarchies of power and knowledge within laundrettes and their effect on customer efficiency. The structure of multilingual conversations in urban laundrettes.

in Manchester
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Peter Kalu

Public transport, threat and conviviality in twenty-first century nocturnal Manchester. Night workers and leisure industry consumers converge in post-midnight public spaces. Costs and externalities in public transport microeconomic price mechanisms. Navigating public space during times of high delinquency and intoxication: the role of the citizen and the security apparatus of the state. Interpersonal negotiation at municipal transport nodes; night-time religious offerings and profanities witnessed at late-night bus stops. A participant-observer’s insight. Civic society and contrasting understandings of personal space and private–public boundaries of intimacy-showing in racialised societies after midnight in urban public spaces.

in Manchester
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Peter Kalu

Social class, the left-behind, migration and the history of underclass occupations as exemplified by the demographics, including ethnicity, of car wash attendants. Mobilities, the cocooning effect of the car cockpit and the discombobulation of temporarily evacuated drivers bringing their car for valeting at car wash enterprises. Employment structures and practices of car washes and the economics of the geographical distribution of car wash enterprises within urban landscapes. Semaphore, sign and cross-languaging in bottom-rung car wash businesses. Aspiration, rags-to-riches myths and film fantasies connecting British car wash work with the American Dream. The interrelated economic histories of car wash employment and taxi driving.

in Manchester
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Peter Kalu

The common denominator, humanising and social unifying factor of sewers; their parallel and orthogonal positioning with other subterranean, municipal essential services in cities. The phantasmagorical and Gothic elements of urban sewers’ mythos. Sewers as symbols of triumphant Victorian engineering, particularly as celebrated, Herculean red-brick structures memorialising the triumph of scientific progress and Western civilisation. Sewers as the metaphoric scatological, as representative of the subconscious; sewers as pharmacological cornucopias, and as the symbolic seedbed for narratives of crime, escape and capture; sewers as signifiers of abjection, evacuation and repression.

in Manchester