Jogger, Mugger and Hipster: Gentrification in late 20th century Britain
Professor Peter Mandler
Peter Mandler a renowned cultural historian at Cambridge University opened our sixth year of the new Bristol Branch of the Historical Association. In forty five minutes he gave a wide ranging and fascinating exploration of the changing demography of Britain’s post-war cities. He introduced the Jogger a now widely accepted part of urban life as a once “UnEnglish” even preposterous figure. Originally middle aged men trying to ward off heart disease these exercisers had become highly visible in our cities by the 1970’s. These pioneers were often graduates of our expanding universities who now choose to live in the inner city for longer and by 1978 had been joined by female joggers. Their uniform of sweat shirts and trainers moved from running to protect their hearts to running for their minds. We got use to them hogging our cities’ pavements.
Another media trope “the mugger” was seen as part of the moral panic that often surrounded reporting on our inner cities. While the media presented street crime rising and the victims being aging, poorer white women, the work of Stuart Hall and other sociologists helped to present a more accurate account of crime and robbery in the 1970’s suggesting black young men were being presented as scapegoats in the zones of transition of the inner city.
The final figure the “Hipster” often seen as figure of fun and even a pretentious phoney by journalists was presented by Professor Mandler as part of the way cities evolved in the noughties. These socially aspirant young people had well paid jobs and were part of making cities more viable even in the more unattractive parts of London .
This funny and insightful lecture was followed by lots of lively questions from the audience many contributing their own experiences as urban dwellers in our city.