Loïc Wacquant – On Urban Relegation

Quote from Loïc Wacquant:

“To speak of urban relegation – rather than ‘territories of poverty’ or ‘low-income community,’ for instance – is to insist that the proper object of inquiry is not the place itself and its residents but the multilevel structural processes whereby persons are selected, thrust and maintained in marginal locations, as well as the social webs and cultural forms they subsequently develop therein.  Relegation is a collective activity, not an individual state; a relation (of economic, social and symbolic power) between collectives, not a gradational attribute of persons. It reminds us that, to avoid falling into the false realism of the ordinary and scholarly common sense of the moment, the sociology of marginality must fasten not on vulnerable ‘groups’ (which often exist merely on paper, if that) but on the institutional mechanisms that produce, reproduce and transform the network of positions to which its supposed members are dispatched and attached. And it urges us to remain agnostic as to the particular social and spatial configuration assumed by the resulting district of dispossession.”

“Revisiting Territories of Relegation: Class, Ethnicity and the State in the Making of Advanced Marginality.” Urban Studies Journal, 53, no. 6, December 2015, Symposium (with responses by Janos Ladanyí, Troels Schultz Larsen, Orlando Patterson, and Emma Shaw Crane): 1077-1088.