Outline of a model of responses to territorial stigma: a conceptual discussion

Publikation: KonferencebidragPaperForskning


The last ten years has seen a steep increase in academic publications on territorial stigmatization and its consequences. However, there is a rather peculiar gap in the literature concerning how people react towards their neighbourhood being territorially stigmatized, what their responses are and what strategies they employ to counteract, cope, hide or simply move away from it. Research dealing with these questions tend to rely on analytical simplifications reducing the different groups living in the neglected housing estates simply to ‘the residents’ or by applying Hirschman’s EVLN model (Hirschman 1970,1978) or even more simplified ‘exit–voice’, ‘conformity–rejection’ or ‘normalisers- pathologisers’ dichotomies. Notable exceptions are Krase 1977, Hastings 2003; Castro 2004; Wacquant 2011, Pereira and Queirós 2014; Wacquant, Slater and Pereira 2014. Against such analytical simplifications, we outline a model based on Bourdieu’s conceptualization of social agent’s relations to places based on their mode of and ability to appropriate the given space. In this way the model is a two dimensional model which charts different responses to territorial stigmatization based on the social agents position in social space, on the vertical axis, operationalized as volume of capital (Bourdieu 1984) and, their appropriation of local space (Bourdieu 1999) operationalized as investment in the given territory on the horizontal axis. On this basis, we demonstrate how the social parameters of the different groups inhabiting neglected neighbourhoods inform their reactions to the symbolic boundaries and hierarchies, their relations to the place they inhabit and the strategies with which they react towards the territorial stigma. Further, we demonstrate that it is possible to chart the distribution of different sets of strategies designed to cope with territorial stigma according to the relevance and efficacy of the inherently different groups living in territorially stigmatized places based on their specific position in the model. By doing so we can also critically examine Wacquants central claim, that residents living in stigmatized areas internalize the surroundings degrading view on them and discuss the newness of his thesis on that account (Wacquant 2008: 183-4, 197, 239-40).
Antal sider13
StatusUdgivet - 2017
Begivenhed7th Nordic Geographers Meeting: Geographies of inequalities - Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sverige
Varighed: 18 jun. 201721 jun. 2017
Konferencens nummer: 7


Konference7th Nordic Geographers Meeting
LokationStockholm University
AndetUnderstanding spatial differences lies at the heart of geographical research. Inherit to this is the analytical focus of spatial and social injustices – and the ways in which inequality take place at global and local levels of analysis. These have been important research questions regardless of scientific traditions and paradigms since the birth of modern geography.<br/><br/>The topic for the 7th Nordic Geographers Meeting is: Where are we now? What are the important challenges we have to deal with today? What kinds of spatial and social differences are the most urgent to try to understand? Do we have operational concepts for analyzing today’s inequalities or do we need conceptual improvements? Do we have the methodological tools or is there a need for new approaches?


  • territorial stigma
  • response to territorial stigma
  • EVLN-model
  • internalization of stigma

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