April 23, 2024

Tid: 10.15-11.30
Online – Zoom
In Swedish

Concealed Stigmatization: Resident Experiences and Practices in Area-Based Development in Gårdsten

Kim Roelofs, Department of Urbana Studier, Malmö Universitet

At this seminar, Kim will present her thesis, which was successfully defended on 5 April at Malmö University. A special focus will be on Chapter 8: Instances of Blurring.

Commentator: Kristian Nagel Delica, Associate Professor, Department of People and Technology Mobility, Space, Place and Urban Studies (MOSPUS), Roskilde University.

This thesis studies resident experiences and practices in area-based development in the residential area of Gårdsten, Gothenburg. Since 1997, the public housing company Gårdstensbostäder has been tasked with positively developing Gårdsten, which until then was considered run down and stigmatized. Gårdstensbostäder has received praise for its area-based work in Gårdsten, especially when the area received better ratings on the police’s list of vulnerable areas. While several studies have focused on resident experiences of living in stigmatized areas, few studies have focused on resident experiences of area-based development. This thesis studies how resident experiences and practices in area-based development are shaped by territorial stigmatization. The study is a case study of area-based development in Gårdsten and the primary data used are semi-structured interviews and go-alongs with twenty-one Gårdsten residents. The study uses theories of territorial stigmatization (Wacquant, 2008; Garbin & Millington, 2012), stigmatization (Tyler, 2020), and space (Bourdieu, 1999; Massey, 2005). Despite informants being positive about Gårdstensbostäder’s work in the area, their experiences and practices continue to be shaped by territorial stigmatization. I identify three components to the territorial stigmatization that Gårdsten is currently subjected to: continuing stickiness; pragmatic resistance; and instances of blurring. These three components constitute a new form of territorial stigmatization in Gårdsten, which I call concealed stigmatization. Behind the positive representations that emphasize Gårdstensbostäder’s success, nuanced, multi-layered resident experiences of continued stigmatization are concealed. The thesis critically assesses the role of area-based initiatives and Swedish public housing, identifying limitations to area-based approaches organized and coordinated by public housing companies.