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Making Sense of Others in a Super-Diverse City: Ethnic Categorization in Public Space

Contributions from European Symbolic Interactionists: Conflict and Cooperation

ISBN: 978-1-78441-856-4, eISBN: 978-1-78441-855-7

ISSN: 0163-2396

Publication date: 2 July 2015

Abstract

This chapter scrutinizes the role of ethnic categorizations in everyday-lived experiences in a diverse neighbourhood. It was found that ethnic categorizations do play an important part in use and perception in widely divergent ways. Users of public space categorize relevant others in terms of ethnicity in various situations and in relation to several activities. Ethnic categories provide meaningful frameworks both in the case of negative evaluations of behaviour and in understanding spatial segregation. Indigenous Dutch are ethnically categorized in terms of them avoiding public space. Established newcomers are aware of an ethnic hierarchy and feel abandoned by indigenous neighbours. On their part, these established newcomers consider more recently arrived new migrants as a sign of decay of the neighbourhood. Next to (perceived) ethnicity, language is taken in account as a separate important classifying principle.

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Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the members of the Erasmus University Research Group Citizenship, Migration and the City, the participants of the 2012 conference on ‘Conflict, Cooperation and Transformation in Everyday Life’ of the European Society for the Study of Symbolic Interactionism, and Thaddeus Müller, Lonnie Athens and John Johnson for their valuable feedback on earlier drafts of this chapter.

Linda Zuijderwijk is a PhD-candidate at the Department of Sociology of Erasmus University Rotterdam and a researcher at the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam. Jack Burgers is a sociologist and professor of urban studies at the Department of Sociology of Erasmus University Rotterdam. This chapter is based on data collected by Linda Zuijderwijk for her PhD thesis on the use, production and regulation of urban public space. Data obtained with the REAP-study at Bospolder Square have also been used for Burgers, Zuijderwijk, Binken, and Van der Wilk (2012) and Binken, Zuijderwijk, Burgers, and Van der Wilk (2012).

Citation

Zuijderwijk, L. and Burgers, J. (2015), "Making Sense of Others in a Super-Diverse City: Ethnic Categorization in Public Space", Contributions from European Symbolic Interactionists: Conflict and Cooperation (Studies in Symbolic Interaction, Vol. 45), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 51-73. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0163-239620150000045003

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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