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Displacing Diversity: How Social Mix Interventions are Legitimised, Experienced and Resisted in a Danish Neighbourhood
Malmö University, Faculty of Culture and Society (KS), Department of Global Political Studies (GPS).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7823-2221
2024 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This doctoral thesis explores residents’ experiences of and resistance to social mix interventions, as well as how these interventions are legitimised in policies. This is studied through an ethnographic approach to policies combined with ethnographic fieldwork in a neighbourhood targeted by social mix interventions. In its empirical scope, the thesis is limited to a Scandinavian context, highlighting the perspectives of residents in a Danish neighbourhood targeted by the so-called ghetto legislation and comparing Danish and Swedish policies. 

The first article of this compilation thesis explores problematisations of urban diversity in Danish and Swedish urban and integration policies. It highlights processes of ‘selfing/othering’, showing how Danish policies construct the figure of ’the non-Western’ and myths of national sameness based on assumptions about cultural homogeneity, while Swedish policies construct the figure of ‘the unproductive’ based on assumptions about sameness as productiveness. The second article explores residents’ experiences of ongoing interventions for social mix. The analysis shows how residents live in conditions of evictability and how they are subjected to the discursive, material, and psychological violence of un-homing, i.e., residents are deprived of their home on multiple scales, even before relocation. The third article highlights how residents engage in various forms of resistance against displacement and commodification. The analysis emphasises how residents’ resistance is both individual and collective, material and discursive, discreet and confrontational. In addition, it shows how residents’ resistance is productive and ambiguous, producing new discourses, (dis)alliances, and places.

Researching experiences of social mix interventions while they occur, this thesis adds new aspects to previous research, which is mainly concerned with whether social mix policies ‘work’. The analysis shows how social mix interventions have immediate, wide-reaching and unintended consequences, and highlights mundane and productive dimensions of processes of resistance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Malmö: Malmö University Press, 2024. , p. 127
Series
Malmö Studies in International Migration and Ethnic Relations, ISSN 1652-3997, E-ISSN 2004-9285
Keywords [en]
Ghetto policies, Racialisation, Commodification, Un-homing, Resistance
National Category
International Migration and Ethnic Relations
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-66707DOI: 10.24834/isbn.9789178774685ISBN: 978-91-7877-468-5 (electronic)ISBN: 978-91-7877-467-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mau-66707DiVA, id: diva2:1850916
Public defence
2024-06-05, NI:B0E15, Nordenskiöldsgatan 1, Malmö, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Paper III in dissertation as manuscript

Available from: 2024-04-18 Created: 2024-04-11 Last updated: 2024-06-05Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Governing urban diversity through myths of national sameness: a comparative analysis of Denmark and Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Governing urban diversity through myths of national sameness: a comparative analysis of Denmark and Sweden
2022 (English)In: Journal of Organizational Ethnography, ISSN 2046-6749, E-ISSN 2046-6757, Vol. 11, no 1, p. 5-19Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore problematisations of urban diversity in urban and integration policies in Denmark and Sweden; the paper aims to show how such policies express social imaginaries about the self and the other underlying assumptions of sameness that legitimise diverging ways of managing urban diversity and (re)organising the city. Design/methodology/approach Inspired by anthropology of policy and post-structural approaches to policy analysis, the authors approach urban and integration policies as cultural texts that are central to the organisation of cities and societies. With a comparative approach, the authors explore how visions of diversity take shape and develop over time in Swedish and Danish policies on urban development and integration. Findings Swedish policy constructs productiveness as crucial to the imagined national sameness, whereas Danish policy constructs cultural sameness as fundamental to the national self-image. By constructing the figure of "the unproductive"/"the non-Western" as the other, diverging from an imagined sameness, policies for organising the city through removing and "improving" urban diverse others are legitimised. Originality/value The authors add to previous research by focussing on the construction of the self as crucial in processes of othering and by highlighting how both nationalistic and colour-blind policy discourses construct myths of national sameness, which legitimise the governing of urban diversity. The authors highlight and de-naturalise assumptions and categorisations by showing how problem representations differ over time and between two neighbouring countries.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2022
Keywords
Segregation, Ghettoization, Migration, Othering, Urban diversity, Social imaginaries, Policy
National Category
Human Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-46300 (URN)10.1108/JOE-06-2021-0034 (DOI)000693451800001 ()2-s2.0-85114515954 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2021-10-13 Created: 2021-10-13 Last updated: 2024-04-11Bibliographically approved
2. Multiscalar Un-homing: Residents’ Experiences of Interventions for Social Mix
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Multiscalar Un-homing: Residents’ Experiences of Interventions for Social Mix
2024 (English)In: Nordic Journal of Migration Research, E-ISSN 1799-649X, Vol. 14, no 1Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Social mix has become a goal of urban policy in the Western world. However, research has emphasised a lack of expected effects, such as increased social and economic opportunities for disadvantaged groups. In addition, the experiences of residents during the implementation phase are underexplored. The purpose of this article is to explore how residents in a multi-ethnic public housing neighbourhood in Copenhagen, Denmark, experience interventions for social mix.

This article goes beyond the migrant/citizen distinction and highlights the perspectives of those affected by the ghetto legislation. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, the analysis shows how residents live under a condition of evictability and risk forced relocation. Moreover, the analysis demonstrates how people lose their homeplace even when remaining as their neighbourhood undergoes physical and social transformation. Highlighting discursive, material and psychological dimensions of un-homing, the article concludes that un-homing is multiscalar and unequally distributed as income, age and migration background affect experiences of un-homing. By showing how policies targeting migrants at the local neighbourhood level also have consequences for non-migrants and on multiple scales, the article contributes to bridging the research fields of critical migration studies and critical urban studies and adds new empirical knowledge to the literature about social mix.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Helsinki University Press, 2024
Keywords
Displacement, Evictability, De-migranticisation, Racialisation, Ghetto, Denmark
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-65809 (URN)10.33134/njmr.646 (DOI)001203517600010 ()
Available from: 2024-02-07 Created: 2024-02-07 Last updated: 2024-05-20Bibliographically approved
3. ‘This is not a ghetto’: Residents’ resistance and re-negotiation of neighbourhood narratives
Open this publication in new window or tab >>‘This is not a ghetto’: Residents’ resistance and re-negotiation of neighbourhood narratives
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Over the past few decades, there has been a wave of urban renewal of multi-ethnic neighbourhoods across cities in the Global North, often legitimized through social mix policies. Previous research has emphasized how gentrification, territorial stigmatization, racialization, and neoliberalism are entangled and how movements for housing justice have emerged. However, the literature on housing struggles has mainly focussed on collective, visible, and intentional acts of resistance, whereas mundane and individual forms of resistance have been neglected. Hence, this article argues that broadening the understanding of resistance in research on housing struggles can improve our understanding of contemporary resistance under neoliberalism. Furthermore, knowledge about resistance and its productive dimensions can challenge hegemonic narratives about urban renewal.

Building on ethnographic fieldwork in Mjølnerparken – a multi-ethnic public housing neighbourhood in Copenhagen, Denmark, targeted by the ‘ghetto legislation’ – the article explores how residents engage in various forms of resistance and how their resistance is both productive and ambiguous. Drawing on Foucauldian notions of power and resistance, the analysis combines the ‘ABC of resistance’ framework with conceptions of place as continuously becoming. It shows how resistance is both individual and collective, both discreet and confrontative; it also emphasizes the constructive and ambiguous aspects of residents’ resistance, highlighting how new discourses, (dis)alliances, and places are enacted through residents’ acts of resistance. The analysis shows how residents enact a homeplace and re-negotiate the hegemonic narrative of their neighbourhood as a ‘ghetto’ – a racializing and stigmatizing narrative which justifies displacement and commodification of public housing. Thus, this article contributes to the literature on housing struggles by broadening the understanding of resistance using an analytical framework from resistance studies. Simultaneously, it contributes to the development of the ABC framework by highlighting how constructive resistance not only produces new discourses and alliances but also enacts places in new ways.

Keywords
commodification, racialization, place-making, discursive struggle, Denmark
National Category
International Migration and Ethnic Relations
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-66706 (URN)
Available from: 2024-04-11 Created: 2024-04-11 Last updated: 2024-04-12Bibliographically approved

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