This article investigates trends in segregation, polarization and inequality in Athens during the 1990s, and focuses on what may seem a paradoxical coexistence of decreasing segregation with increasing social polarization and inequality. To explain this coexistence, the article examines the distinction between social polarization in specific contexts and the dominant assumptions about social polarization, which derive from the global city thesis, and the structure of the city’s housing market, which prevented the substantial wave of immigration during the 1990s from intensifying segregation. Arguing for more context awareness, the article does not try to stress the specificity of the Athenian case, but, mainly, to reveal the context‐dependent character of the dominant assumptions about segregation and social polarization and, therefore, to show their limitations.
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