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All :: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, T, U, V, W, Y, Z, Ö 
All :: Wacquant, ... , Wensierski, Wentz, Werbner, ... , Winlow 
Wacquant, Loïc
Three pernicious premises in the study of American ghetto
Events and Debates, :341-353

Keywords: US-American ghetto, racialized division, urban poverty


In this article Wacquant elaborates three premises that have dominated the recent debates on urban poverty in the U.S and form the cornerstones of the current academic doxa and go unargued as well as unquestioned. The first premise involves the tendency to dilute the notion ghetto in order to designate urban areas of intense poverty. The ghetto is equated with any premise of high poverty regardless of its population and organizational make up. This results in urban areas exhibiting extreme poverty being defined as ghettos because they are poor. Wacquant criticizes this tendency for reversing social and historical causation and obfuscating the racial basis and character of this poverty as well as divesting the term ghetto of its historical meaning and social content. He draws on its historiographic usage and argues that the term ghetto should not be defined as a topographic entity or aggregation of poor families and individuals but as an institutional form, a historically determinate, spatially based concatenation of mechanisms of ethnoracial closure and control, an ethnoracial formation. Wacquant aims to retrieve an institutionalist conception of the ghetto, as it is more consistent with the historic root of the term and problematizes the bases and mechanisms of triage that determine relegation within the penalized space of the ghetto. The second premise refers to the idea of the ghetto as disorganized social formation that can only be analyzed in terms of lack and deficiencies instead of positively identifying the principles that underlie its internal order and govern its specific mode of functioning. Wacquant argues that an understanding of the ghetto as an institutionalist form rather than an accumulation of pathology shows that it does not suffer from disorganization but is instead organized according to different principles in response to a unique set of structural and strategic constraints that bear on racialized enclaves of the city. The third premise has its source in the idea of disorganisation and concerns the tendency to exoticize the ghetto. It follows the logic of making and constructing the most threatening and disreputable residents of the racialized core into representatives for the ghetto in general and continuously reproduces century old racist stereotypes. Wacquant states that the paucity of sustained field observation as well as the demonic social imagery connected to the ghetto hide the fact that forms of social action and organization seemingly deviant from afar and above obey a local social rationality that fits to the real life constraints and facilitations of the contemporary black belt. He points out that the analysis of the ghetto should not focus on the most ‘spectacular’ practices but on the taken-for-granted forms of perception and the ghetto as an ongoing strategic and interpretative achievement. For Wacquant the task of sociology is to uncover the immanent social necessity that governs the practices and life forms of ghetto residents, ghettos should be studied as part the total complex of human activities and enterprises, as orders of things presenting ongoing social processes that can also be found in legitimate institutions.

Wacquant, Loïc
Inside the Zone: The Social Art of the Hustler in the Black American Ghetto
Theory, Culture & Society, 15(1):1-36

Keywords: Black American, ghetto, hustler, socioanalytic interpretation, lifeworld


This article seeks to illumine the street-level, internal, meshing of social structure, strategy and experience in the contemporary black American ghetto by dissecting the practices of a professional `hustler' who works the streets of Chicago's South Side. A socioanalytic interpretation of Rickey's life - his background, worldview and social attachments, as well as his techniques of coping and methods of predatory entrepreneuralism - shows how individual strategies of survival at the core of today's `dark ghetto' can aggregate into a trajectory of collective destruction that gives all appearances of being self-inflicted, even as it is (over)determined by the twofold retrenchment of market and state and by the social entropy that these determine. Through an ironic historical reversal, it is whites who, having vanished from the social universe and consciousness of ghetto residents, have become the `invisible men' of the new sociospatial structure of relegation that consigns poor urban blacks to an internecine war with neither victors nor end. The analysis of a single individual lifeworld thus serves to illumine the whole system of material and symbolic relations, visible and invisible, local and societal, that compose the late 20th-century ghetto as instrument of relegation and lived reality.

Wacquant, Loïc
The Rise of Advanced Marginality: Notes on its Nature and Implications
Acta Sociologica, 39(2):121-139


The resurgence of extreme poverty and destitution, ethnoracial divisions (linked to the colonial past) and public violence, and their accumulation in the same distressed urban areas, suggest that the metropolis is the site and fount of novel forms of exclusionary social closure in advanced societies. This paper essays an ideal-typical characterization of this new, rising regime of urban marginality by contrasting it with selected features of urban poverty in the postwar era of Fordist growth. Six distinctive features of advanced marginality are proposed: the growing internal heterogeneity and desocialization of labor, the functional disconnection of neighborhood conditions from macro-economic trends; territorial fixation and stigmatization; spatial alienation and the dissolution of place; the loss of a viable hinterland; and the symbolic fragmentation of marginalized populations. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of the rise of advanced marginality for social analysis and policy, including the need to break out of the market-and-state paradigm and to sever the link between work and subsistence via the institution of a citizen's wage.

Wacquant, Loïc
Urban Marginality in the Coming Millennium
Urban Studies, 36(10):1639-1647

Keywords: urban marginality inequality wage labour welfare states Poverty immigrants


This paper sketches a characterisation of the regime of urban marginality that has emerged in advanced societies since the close of the Fordist era, highlighting four logics that combine to produce it: a macrosocietal drift towards inequality, the mutation of wage labour (entailing both deproletarianisation and casualisation), the retrenchment of welfare states, and the spatial concentration and stigmatisation of poverty. The rise of this new marginality does not signal a transatlantic convergence on the American pattern: European neighbourhoods of relegation are deeply penetrated by the state and ethnoracial tensions in them are fuelled, not by the growing gap between immigrants and natives, but by their increasing propinquity in social and physical space. To cope with emergent forms of urban marginality, societies face a three-pronged alternative: they can patch up existing programmes of the welfare state, criminalise poverty via the punitive containment of the poor, or institute new social rights that sever subsistence from performance in the labour market.

Wacquant, Loïc
Punir les pauvres: Le nouveau gouvernement de l’insécurité sociale
Cahiers Philosophiques, (104):105-114

Wacquant, Loïc
Les banlieues populaires à l’heure de la marginalité avancée
Les Grands Dossiers des Sciences Humaines, (4):30-33

Wacquant, Loïc
Les deux visages du ghetto: Construire un concept sociologique
Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, (5):4-21


Although the social sciences have made extensive use of the term “ghetto” as a descriptive term, they have failed to forge a robust analytical concept of the same, relying instead on the folk notions taken for granted at each epoch in the society under examination. This article constructs a relational concept of the ghetto as a Janus-faced instrument of ethnoracial closure and control by drawing on the historiography of the Jewish diaspora in Renaissance Europe, the sociology of the black American experience in the Fordist metropolis, and the anthropology of ethnic outcasts in East Asia. This reveals that a ghetto is a social-organizational device composed of four elements (stigma, constraint, spatial confinement, and institutional encasement) that employs space to reconcile the two antinomic purposes of economic exploitation and social ostracization. The ghetto is not a “natural area” coterminous with “the history of migration” (as Louis Wirth argued), but a special form of collective violence concretized in urban space. Articulating the concept of ghetto makes it possible to disentangle the relationship between ghettoization, urban poverty, and segregation, and to clarify the structural and functional differences between ghettos and ethnic clusters. It also enables us to spotlight the role of the ghetto as a symbolic incubator and matrix for the production of a spoiled identity, and suggests that it should be studied by analogy with other institutions for the forced confinement of dispossessed and dishonored groups such as the reservation, the refugee camp, and the prison.

Wacquant, Loïc
Scrutinizing the Street: Poverty, Morality, and the Pitfalls of Urban Ethnography
American Journal of Sociology, 107(6):1468-1532

Wacquant, Loïc
Ethnografeast: A Progress Report on the Practice and Promise of Ethnography
Ethnography, 4(1):1-10

Keywords: ethnography, social research, conference, anthropology, sociology


This report looks at the three-day conference on the practice and promise of ethnography held by the Centre for Urban Ethnography at the University of California-Berkeley and the journal Ethnography in September 2002. It first defines ethnography as social research grounded on the observation of people in their everyday life-worlds, in which the researcher immerses herself or himself. Loïc Wacquant then looks at three lines that continue to divide ethnography to this day: first, the gap between national traditions; second, the separation of academic disciplines such as anthropology and sociology; third, the diversity of styles of ethnographic work. Therefore, the author argues for internationalism, interdisciplinarity, and pluralism in theories and genres. Referring to the first session of the conference, in which anthropologist Ruth Behar and sociologist Michael Burawoy presented their different approaches to ethnographic work, the opposed positions of narration and experiment, interpretation and explanation, emic and etic perspectives are examined. However, Wacquant emphasises that the similarities between anthropologists and sociologists far outweigh the differences, that result from separate training and different career paths.

Wacquant, Loïc and Wilson, William Julius
The Cost of Racial and Class Exclusion in the Inner City
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 501(1):8-25


Discussions of inner-city social dislocations are often severed from the struggles and structural changes in the larger society, economy, and polity that in fact determine them, resulting in undue emphasis on the individual attributes of ghetto residents and on the alleged grip of the so-called culture of poverty. This article provides a different perspective by drawing attention to the specific features of the proximate social structure in which ghetto residents evolve and try to survive. This is done by contrasting the class composition, welfare trajectories, economic and financial assets, and social capital of blacks who live in Chicago's ghetto neighborhoods with those who reside in this city's low-poverty areas. Our central argument is that the interrelated set of phenomena captured by the term "underclass" is primarily social-structural and that the inner city is experiencing a crisis because the dramatic growth in joblessness and economic exclusion associated with the ongoing spatial and industrial restructuring of American capitalism has triggered a process of hyperghettoization.

Wacquant, Loïc and Chauvin, Sébastien
Parias urbains: Ghetto, banlieues, État
Éditions la Découverte, Paris

Wacquant, Loïc
Territorial Stigmatization in the age of advanced marginality.
Thesis Eleven, 91(1):66-77

Keywords: advanced society, class formation, poverty, precariousness, space, stigma, subproletariat, urban marginality


The comparative sociology of the structure, dynamics, and experience of urban relegation in the United States and the European Union during the past three decades reveals the emer-gence of a new regime of marginality. This regime generates forms of poverty that are neither residual, nor cyclical or transitional, but inscribed in the future of contemporary societies inso-far as they are fed by the ongoing fragmentation of the wage labour relationship, the functional disconnection of dispossessed neighbourhoods from the national and global economies, and the reconfiguration of the welfare state in the polarizing city. Based on a methodical comparison between the black American ghetto and the French working-class banlieue at century's turn, this article spotlights three distinctive spatial properties of `advanced marginal-ity' — territorial fixation and stigmatization, spatial alienation and the dissolution of `place', and the loss of a hinterland — and draws out their implications for the formation of the `precariat' in postindustrial societies.

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