Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Stadt- und Regionalsoziologie

Dr. Javier Ruiz-Tagle at Think and Drink Colloquium

  • Wann 02.07.2018 von 18:00 bis 21:00
  • Wo Universitätsstraße 3b; 10117 Berlin
  • Teilnehmer Javier Ruiz-Tagle Talja Blokland
  • iCal

Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
Universitätsstraße 3b

6pm Room 002 (Ground Floor)

Think and Drink Colloquium is a collaborative project of
--> Georg Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies // HU
--> Urban and Regional Sociology // HU

It is open to anyone interested in Urban Studies - feel free to join!


Javier Ruiz-Tagle, Catholic University of Chile

Urban marginality and institutional effects: Disinvestment, inefficacy and stigmatization in Santiago de Chile


The 'neighborhood effects' thesis assumes that social environments of concentrated poverty lead to a number of social problems (school dropout, teenage pregnancy, unemployment, drug consumption and trafficking, domestic violence, single parenthood, and the like). Despite the wide usage of this thesis, several scholars have questioned its poor theoretical grounding and its intimate relation with policies of poverty dispersion, public housing demolition and social mix.

Drawing on literatures on 'total institutions', 'institutional geographies', urban marginality and urban political economy, we propose an alternative perspective rooted on a critique of the practices of external institutions that have an influence on marginal neighborhoods. We hypothesize that institutions can affect the life chances of poor and excluded communities through three interrelated mechanisms: (1) investments and disinvestments, (2) inaction and inefficacy, and (3) symbolicbranding and stigmatization. We have worked with this hypothesis through a large mixed method, case study of three marginal neighborhoods in Santiago de Chile.

After the second year of this three year-long research, we have found the following evidence. Regarding investments and disinvestments, there is an absence of several important institutions configuring what has been called 'Red Zones'. This happens when public, private and civil institutions, for different reasons, refuse to enter marginal neighborhoods and to deliver their services, which generates a variety of social, economic and symbolic effects from this institutional abandonment. Regarding inaction and inefficacy, social organizations in these formerly active communities have waned, as a consequence of different interventions from local governments, such as incentives for internal competition, divisive strategies, social control and political clientelism, just to name a few. These actions have modified their behavior and modes of organization, bringing a generalized feeling of distrust between citizens and the State (in its different forms and scales), which complicates any public intervention and deeply affects the relationships among residents. And regarding symbolic branding and stigmatization, there is a critical symbolic degradation of these neighborhoods from the media and other powerful actors, and different submission strategies from residents (e.g. mutual distancing, dissimulation, etc.) that validate and amplify the discredit of place. These symbolic processes have both subjective and objective consequences in turn, such as the (re)production of the mentioned 'Red Zones', the weakening of social bonds and place attachments, the degradation of identities, and a generalized naturalization of inequalities, precariousness and violence.

Mitteilungen des Instituts




Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät
Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
Unter den Linden 6
10099 Berlin



Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
Universitätsstraße 3b
10117 Berlin