Space Matters — Marginalization and Its Places


Analysing the social situation of hyperghettos in Chicago and the banlieues in Paris, Loïc Wacquant goes far beyond the empirical comparison by detecting the underlying logics of social polarization. Thus, he contends that each society produces its own social inequalities through its respective power relations and that place matters for social exclusion processes. This fact, however, should not be analysed simply by structural factors. Therefore, a theory of space is needed by which it is possible to explain the inner logics of socio‐spatial exclusion. Following the theory of the self‐recruiting of the upper classes by Pierre Bourdieu (the structure–habitus–practise reproduction formula) this theory has to connect the macro level (market economy, neoliberal regulation, the production of images, goals and attitudes towards social justice, etc.) which explains the logics of regulation and class composition, the meso level (territories and places with their own logics, social structures and social relations in networks — bridging or bonding) and the micro level (with its subjective constructions of realities and everyday behaviour). The commentary concludes with the question why critical books like Urban Outcasts are so rare and argues that the ‘economy of awareness’ is negatively impacting on the scientific community.