Place and Stigma: Coping, resistance and belonging(s)
Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting (New York City,
24-28 February 2012)
Session organizer: Paul Kirkness (University of Edinburgh)
Territorial stigmatization has undeniable, long-lasting and dramatic
consequences. Stigmatizing representations of a place lead to
persistent and pernicious 'post code' discrimination. Research shows
that stigmatization allows for a furthering of boundary maintenance
between 'core' neighbourhoods and those perceived as inhabiting the
'peripheral'. Much of the literature points towards the enormous costs
that negative representations of a place can impose on a neighborhood
in terms of social cohesion. The desire to rid oneself of the stigma
of place has been said to lead residents to escape whenever they have
the chance to. When they exit these 'peripheral' places - depicted as
slums, favelas, ghettos, banlieues or any other of the numerous
stigma-labels which affix themselves to place - and travel into the
'core', inhabitants carry the burden outside the artificial boundary
of their neighborhood and come under suspicion. In a number of cases,
the neighborhood effects associated with territorial stigmatization
layer themselves onto pre-existing 'marks of stigma' - ethnicity,
race, unemployment, religious beliefs, and so on. Notwithstanding, an
increasing body of research has oriented itself towards understanding
the often profound attachments that residents have to stigmatized
spaces. It shows that even in the face of powerful stigmatic imagery,
residents cope with, challenge and resist negative representations of
their home neighborhoods and attempt to displace the language of stigma.
The session invites papers that critically engage with the processes
that are at work in territorial stigmatization. It seeks to give voice
to the counter-hegemonic tactics that are enacted by residents in
order to cope (and resist?) the enduring negative imagery of their
home spaces. Methodological papers that address the potential issues
involved in the study of territorial stigmatization will be welcomed.
This session invites papers that address (but are not restricted to)
the following topics:
-The management of 'neighborhood effects' by residents of stigmatized places.
-The possibilities of resistance to territorial stigmatization and the
question of who does the resisting.
-Territorial stigmatization and the fear of contagion vs. potential
pride in being 'contagious'.
-How belonging both within and outwith 'peripheral' neighborhoods is
enacted and understood by inhabitants.
-Reflections on who has access to voicing resistance and who is kept silent.
-Ethical issues involved in the study of territorial stigmatization.
Inquiries about the session and abstracts (max. 250 words) should be
sent to [log in to unmask] by the 22 September 2011.
The University Of Edinburgh,
Room 1.09 (Benbecula Suite), Institute of Geography, Drummond Street,
Mobile: +44 (0) 7595 754 850
Phone: +44 (0) 131 650 8106
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