September 10, 2024

Time: 10.15-12.00
Online – Zoom
In Swedish

Displacing Diversity: How Social Mix Interventions are Legitimised, Experienced and Resisted in a Danish Neighbourhood.

Rebecka Söderberg, Department of Globala Politiska Studier, Malmö University.

Abstract: 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.

The thesis can be downloaded here.

Commentator: TBA
Chair: Martin Grander, Associate senior lecturer, Department of Urban Studies, Malmö University.