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Breaking with the exoticizing cast of public discourse and conventional research, Urban Outcasts takes the reader inside the black ghetto of Chicago and the deindustrializing banlieue of Paris to discover that urban marginality is not everywhere the same. Drawing on a wealth of original field, survey and historical data, Loïc Wacquant shows that the involution of America's urban core after the 1960s is due not to the emergence of an 'underclass', but to the joint withdrawal of market and state fostered by public policies of racial separation and urban abandonment. In European cities, by contrast, the spread of districts of 'exclusion' does not herald the formation of ghettos. It stems from the decomposition of working-class territories under the press of mass unemployment, the casualization of work and the ethnic mixing of populations hitherto segregated, spawning urban formations akin to 'anti-ghettos'. Comparing the US 'Black Belt' with the French 'Red Belt' demonstrates that state structures and policies play a decisive role in the articulation of class, race and place on both sides of the Atlantic. It also reveals the crystallization of a new regime of marginality fuelled by the fragmentation of wage labour, the retrenchment of the social state and the concentration of dispossessed categories in stigmatized areas bereft of a collective idiom of identity and claims-making. These defamed districts are not just the residual 'sinkholes' of a bygone economic era, but also the incubators of the precarious proletariat emerging under neoliberal capitalism. Urban Outcasts sheds new light on the explosive mix of mounting misery, stupendous affluence and festering street violence resurging in the big cities of the First World. By specifying the different causal paths and experiential forms assumed by relegation in the American and the French metropolis, this book offers indispensable tools for rethinking urban marginality and for reinvigorating the public debate over social inequality and citizenship at century's dawn.
No other city in South Africa bears the scars of white minority rule as obviously and as self-consciously as Johannesburg, the place where the architects of racial segregation were the most deeply invested in implanting their vision of 'separate development' into the material fabric of society. Not surprisingly the city is also the place where this vision of racial exclusivity was the most bitterly contested in the popular struggles that eventually brought white rule to an end. Today, although a new generation of city builders has struggled to reinvent the city so as to reflect an alternative, more equitable politics that answers the basic needs of the urban poor, nevertheless the city remains deeply fractured, divided between two highly unequal and spatially disconnected worlds: one catering to the rich and another for those without regular work, without shelter, and forced to eke out a marginal existence. City of Extremes analyzes the relationship between the evolving urban form of Johannesburg after apartheid and present-day, boosterist, city-building efforts to create a "world-class" African city. The book shows how property-holding elites and their affluent middle-class allies have been able to maintain privileged life styles despite persistent demands from below for redress of long-standing grievances. The metamorphosis of Johannesburg from the exemplary "apartheid city" at the height of white minority rule has, Murray demonstrates, gone hand in hand with the emergence of new patterns of spatial inequality and new kinds of social exclusion, the result of city-building efforts that have partitioned the urban landscape into fortified "renaissance sites" of privatized luxury where affluent urban residents work and play - on one side - and impoverished spaces of confinement where the poor, the socially excluded, and the homeless are forced to survive on the other. Murray's analysis of this phenomenon is divided into three parts. Part 1 provides a historical context that reveals how real estate developers, corporate builders, and city planners have fostered an image of an aspiring global city, yet at the same time have produced spatial frictions that have disrupted the city's coherence, hollowed out its core, relied primarily on private transport rather than public transit, and left decaying inner-city slums. Part 2 examines the twin processes of fragmentation and polarization that have left the city with pockets of ostentatious wealth and other pockets of utter destitution. Murray shows how this process depends on the peculiar qualities of land values as marketable commodities, producing boom and bust cycles as builders compete to produce landmark structures but then feel required to insulate them from the nearby "mean streets" by creating citadel-like office buildings and shopping enclaves. Part 3 then looks in detail at the creation of these new divisive spaces, what Murray calls "redoubts of commerce" that resemble nomadic fortresses connected by bridges and underground tunnels arising not as the result of impersonal market forces, but through the deliberate actions of key propertied stakeholders. The result, he shows, is a patchwork city of dispersed territorial enclaves that have not only reinforced existing inequalities and racial hierarchies, but have introduced new patterns of social exclusion that have further marginalized the black underclass and urban poor.
Urban Ills: Confronting Twenty First Century Dilemmas of Urban Living in GlobalContexts brings together original research by a wide array of interdisciplinary scholars to examine contemporary dilemmas impacting urban life in global contexts, following the latest global economic downturn. Focusing extensively on vulnerable populations, economic, social, health and community dynamics are explored as they relate to human adaptation to complex environments.
This innovative new work suggests that The Wire reflects, not simply a cultural take on contemporary America, but a structural critique of the conditions of late-modernity and global capitalism. As such, it is a visual text worth investigating and exploring for its nuanced examination of power, difference and inequality. Deylami & Havercroft bring together nine essays addressing issues of interest to a range of academic fields in order to engage with this important cultural intervention that has transfixed audiences and sparked debate within the social scientific community. While the TV show is primarily focused upon the urban politics of Baltimore, the contributors to this volume read Baltimore as a global city. That is, they argue that the relations between race, class, power, and violence that the series examines only make sense if we understand that inner city Baltimore is a node in a larger global network of violence and economic inequality. The book is divided into three interrelated sections focusing on systemic and cultural violence, the rise and decline of national and state formations, and the dysfunctional and destructive forces of global capitalism. Throughout the series the relation of the urban to the global is constantly being explored. This innovative new volume explains clearly how The Wire portrays this interaction, and what this representation can show social scientists interested in race, neo-liberal processes of globalization, criminality, gender, violence and surveillance.
Written by criminologists and policy analysts, Criminalisation and advanced marginality offers a constructive but critical application of Wacquant's ideas.
In 2004, one of the world’s last bands of voluntarily isolated nomads left behind their ancestral life in the dwindling thorn forests of northern Paraguay, fleeing ranchers’ bulldozers. Behold the Black Caiman is Lucas Bessire’s intimate chronicle of the journey of this small group of Ayoreo people, the terrifying new world they now face, and the precarious lives they are piecing together against the backdrop of soul-collecting missionaries, humanitarian NGOs, late liberal economic policies, and the highest deforestation rate in the world. Drawing on ten years of fieldwork, Bessire highlights the stark disconnect between the desperate conditions of Ayoreo life for those out of the forest and the well-funded global efforts to preserve those Ayoreo still living in it. By showing how this disconnect reverberates within Ayoreo bodies and minds, his reflexive account takes aim at the devastating consequences of our society’s continued obsession with the primitive and raises important questions about anthropology’s potent capacity to further or impede indigenous struggles for sovereignty. The result is a timely update to the classic literary ethnographies of South America, a sustained critique of the so-called ontological turn—one of anthropology’s hottest trends—and, above all, an urgent call for scholars and activists alike to rethink their notions of difference.
The punitive turn of penal policy in the United States after the acme of the Civil Rights movement responds not to rising criminal insecurity but to the social insecurity spawned by the fragmentation of wage labor and the shakeup of the ethnoracial hierarchy. It partakes of a broader reconstruction of the state wedding restrictive “workfare” and expansive “prisonfare” under a philosophy of moral behaviorism. This paternalist program of penalization of poverty aims to curb the urban disorders wrought by economic deregulation and to impose precarious employment on the postindustrial proletariat. It also erects a garish theater of civic morality on whose stage political elites can orchestrate the public vituperation of deviant figures—the teenage “welfare mother,” the ghetto “street thug,” and the roaming “sex predator”—and close the legitimacy deficit they suffer when they discard the established government mission of social and economic protection. By bringing developments in welfare and criminal justice into a single analytic framework attentive to both the instrumental and communicative moments of public policy, Punishing the Poor shows that the prison is not a mere technical implement for law enforcement but a core political institution. And it reveals that the capitalist revolution from above called neoliberalism entails not the advent of “small government” but the building of an overgrown and intrusive penal state deeply injurious to the ideals of democratic citizenship. Visit the author’s website.

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