Poking holes in parkers “Class Place and Place Class”

Based on Parker et als 2007 paper “CLASS PLACES AND PLACE CLASSES Geodemographics and the spatialization of class”, geodemographics is clearly a well constructed field that does an excellent job of addressing the nature of spatial clustering of different demographics. However, the paper itself has a few flaws that confuse me as to why it was written. Two point especially gave me pause as I read this paper.

Within the second section, the authors write “Now, this is all very interesting, but what does it have to do with the analytic concerns of this journal and, in particular, the current focus in this issue on the social science of urban informatics? Our argument is that this ‘spatial turn’ in the sociology of class – the clustering of people with a similar a habitus into what we might think of as ‘class places’ – is connected in a number of important ways with the ongoing informatization of place (Burrows & Ellison 2004), particularly as manifest in the urban informatics technology of geodemographics (Harris et al. 2005; Burrows & Gane 2006).” The tone of the writing in this section is the first hint of issue with this section. By striking a conversational tone in a paper that purports to prove the analytical worth of geodemographics, I believe the authors are taking away from their final argument. They also imply here that the spatial clustering of class places is a new phenomenon, something that is not addressed anywhere else in the paper.

Parker et als paper presents itself as a research paper, but I believe it might be better classified as a overview/write up of the field. Their research methods were also questionable, as the highly qualitative nature of their work and their extremely small sample size meant that the robustness of their research was not particularly strong. While there is nothing wrong with a paper that takes this approach per say, the authors have stated that their overall goal is to show the quantitative value of geodemographic techniques, something that they do not accomplish here.

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