1st Edition

Creating the Unequal City The Exclusionary Consequences of Everyday Routines in Berlin

    222 Pages
    by Routledge

    222 Pages
    by Routledge

    Cities can be seen as geographical imaginaries: places have meanings attributed so that they are perceived, represented and interpreted in a particular way. We may therefore speak of cityness rather than 'the city': the city is always in the making. It cannot be grasped as a fixed structure in which people find their lives, and is never stable, through agents designing courses of interactions with geographical imaginations. This theoretical perspective on cities is currently reshaping the field of urban studies, requiring new forms of theory, comparisons and methods. Meanwhile, mainstream urban studies approaches neighbourhoods as fixed social-spatial units, producing effects on groups of residents. Yet they have not convincingly shown empirically that the neighbourhood is an entity generating effects, rather than being the statistical aggregate where effects can be measured. This book challenges this common understanding, and argues for an approach that sees neighbourhood effects as the outcome of processes of marginalisation and exclusion that find spatial expressions in the city elsewhere. It does so through a comparative study of an unusual kind: Sub-Saharan Africans, second generation Turkish and Lebanese girls, and alcohol and drug consumers, some of them homeless, arguably some of the most disadvantaged categories in the German capital, Berlin, in inner city neighbourhoods, and middle class families in owner-occupied housing. This book analyses urban inequalities through the lens of the city in the making, where neighbourhood comes to play a role, at some times, in some practices, and at some moments, but is not the point of departure.

    Preface; Introduction: creating the unequal city, Talja Blokland, Carlotta Giustozzi, Daniela Krüger and Hannah Schilling. Part I Making the City Work: Practices of Segregation: Spaces of fear and their exclusionary consequences: narratives and everyday routines of Sub-Saharan immigrants in Berlin, Mirjam Lewek; Secluding: middle class segregation in schools and neighbourhoods, Carlotta Giustozzi, Talja Blokland and Nora Freitag; Cheating the system to get the best for one’s kids: middle class practices and racist marginalization, Talja Blokland and Georg Große-Löscher; In the interest of the child: gendered practices of middle class mothers, Carlotta Giustozzi. Part II Making the City Work: Dealing with Marginalization: A youth club as a site of resources: a girls’ alternative to school and family, Imogen Feld; Loving, sharing and engaging: Sub-Saharan immigrants in a Pentecostal church, Stephan Simon; Social ties and the moral orientation of sharing: information-giving among Sub-Saharan immigrants in Berlin, Rebecca Arbter; The square as sanctuary: finding social recognition among urban poor, Daniela Krüger; Holding on to faith: religion as resource to create capabilities in the face of institutional discrimination, Hannah Schilling. Conclusion, Talja Blokland


    Talja Blokland is an urban sociologist who has worked at Yale University, the University of Manchester and various Dutch universities. Since 2009, she has held the chair of Urban and Regional Sociology at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Her publications include Urban Bonds (Polity 2003), Networked Urbanism (edited with Mike Savage, Ashgate 2008) and various articles on race and ethnicity in the city, poor neighbourhoods, urban violence, gentrification, urban middle classes and neighbourhood relations and everyday interactions.

    Carlotta Giustozzi is a doctoral researcher in the ERC-funded CORRODE project at the chair for social stratification and social policy at Goethe University Frankfurt. She holds a master’s degree in social sciences from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin where she has worked as a research assistant at the chair of urban and regional sociology. She has been a visiting student at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and co-authored the chapter "The social dimension of urban transformations" in Mieg and Töpfer’s Institutional and Social Innovation for Sustainable Urban Development. Her research interests include social stratification, inequality and its manifestation in different national and cultural contexts.

    Daniela Krüger is a PhD student and research assistant at the Disaster Research Unit in the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology of Freie Universität Berlin and a member of the NYLON network of young scholars in New York, London and Berlin. She studied social sciences at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the University of Bologna and the City University of New York. Her research interests are in urban sociology, social theory and research on vulnerability and social segregation in the city.

    Hannah Schilling is doctoral research fellow in the International Graduate Program "The World in the City" at the Centre for Metropolitan Studies of the Technical University Berlin; fellow of the German Academic National Foundation and member of the NYLON network of young scholars in New York, London and Berlin. In preparation of her dissertation research on precarious youth in Abidjan and Berlin, she worked as a research assistant in the international research program "Urbanizing Faith" at the chair of urban and regional sociology at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Research stays in Madrid and Paris and her studies in social sciences at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin have informed her research interest in comparative urbanism, racism and (state) institutions in practice.

    ’Taking a new and important tack, the contributors to Creating the Unequal City offer a detailed and timely portrait of a city while in fact telling us something much deeper about the nature of lived urban experience. Eschewing global city frameworks and the industrial production of poverty studies we learn how its diverse actors and citizens navigate and unwittingly produce patterns of exclusion and support.’ Rowland Atkinson, University of Sheffield, UK