The ghetto as stigmatizing mythology: three European examples

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This article addresses the vexed question of the "ghetto", focusing in particular on the dangerous mythology and political panic surrounding that term. It critiques the opportunistic use of the term ghetto, showing how this is a political strategy of stigmatizing areas exhibiting large ethnic minority populations, especially those residing in social housing estates, fundamentally dissolute and irretrievably disorganized. Focusing on three national contexts, Britain, Denmark and Belgium, the article draws upon Loïc Wacquant's conceptualisation of the ghetto to argue that fictitious constructions of "hettos" have everything to do with the racialized denigration of people's lives, something that cannot be separated from the intense stigmatization of the places where they live.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-39
JournalSociologia Urbana E Rurale
Issue number125
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


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