Territorial stigmatization and local belonging: A study of the Danish neighbourhood Aalborg East

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48 Citationer (Scopus)


Loïc Wacquant has made a widely read and debated contribution to critical research on contemporary urban marginality. A central part of the theoretical framework is that residents of deprived areas internalize territorial stigmatization, which then has a range of negative effects. Based on empirical research this paper assesses Wacquant's conception of territorial stigmatization and suggests some points where urban sociology might go beyond or adjust Wacquant. The empirical research focuses on Aalborg East, a deprived area in the northern part of Denmark. Through media analysis it is documented that Aalborg East is subject to territorial stigmatization, and it is suggested that cultural racism plays an important role. Qualitative interview data suggest, however, that the residents do not internalize or resign to the stigma. They become sad or angry when confronted with the stigma, but they have an either positive or ambivalent view of the area and most of them are content to live there. This finding is validated by survey data. Wacquant's conception cannot be entirely rejected, though, as the construction of internal dividing lines in some interviews can be interpreted as a way of managing territorial stigmatization. Nevertheless, the data provide little support for a theory of clear-cut internalization of territorial stigmatization in the case of Aalborg East. This conclusion leads to three discussions: a confirmation of Wacquant's claim that the role of the state matters; a discussion of the specific political culture of Scandinavian societies; and a problematization of Wacquant's reliance on Bourdieu's conception of symbolic violence.
Udgave nummer1-2
Sider (fra-til)74-92
Antal sider19
StatusUdgivet - 23 apr. 2012


  • territorial stigmatisering
  • autonomi
  • symbolsk vold
  • bysociologi
  • Goffman
  • Wacquant
  • Bourdieu
  • deprived areas
  • territorial stigmatization
  • symbolic violence
  • cultural racism
  • autonomy
  • agency