Strand Street in Douglas is the biggest social street on the Isle of Man. Even though this street can seem insignificant in comparison to City Road in Cardiff and is very different, they both have very similar features from a social science point of view. Strand Street is long, with a diverse range of shops, cafes and bars, and services such as a post office, banks, opticians and others. Strand Street is pedestrianised, but it is situated only one street up from the main promenade traffic, and has bus stops, taxi ranks and several large car parks close by. Rainbow’s End is a good example of how material and social lives are connected and shows how these connections and a sense of belonging to a specific group can help overcome other drawbacks. The shop has a big disadvantage as it is a corner shop facing a small side lane, located at the far end of Strand Street. It is very small and hard to notice from the street. Even though it has a long history, much of the population doesn’t know it exists. The shop differs from the others by selling unique, one of kind items, handmade and very colourful. The owner of the shop knows and uses her own products and is customer oriented all the way. The proprietor’s connection to these material things and services she provides creates a type of identity for her. This is the same type of connection her clientele has, creating a feeling of belonging to this specific group and the reason why clients keep going back to this little corner shop. As Simon Bromley says, referring to a small garage B&R Motors: ‘Small workshops like this survive and thrive very much on the network of personal local connections of reputations.’(Material lives, 2009, scene 3). This is the same for many small businesses on the Isle of Man. A big contrast to Rainbow’s End is the Strand Shopping Centre. It has a round hallway with a lift and an escalator. It provides toilets and a couple of baby changing facilities as well as a very friendly coffee shop...
References: Material lives (2009) Making Social lives DVD, Evans Woolf Media, Milton Keynes, The Open University
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