The sociology of the city has two faces: one of threat and one of promises. Originally, the city was portrayed as a threat to social life and individual identity, while, in contrast, the neighbourhood was seen to include the promise of restoring basic social relations to the web of city life. Later, the neighbourhood itself came to be perceived as a threat, as it was seen to separate people from one another. The solution to this dilemma was that the neighbourhood should be an arena for meetings between different groups, supplying not strong ‘excluding’ bonds, but subtle ‘bridge-building’ ones.
The aim of the first part in the thesis is to study the public view of the neighbourhood and its significance for social integration. The aim of the second part is to investigate the new metropolitan policy approach to attain the challenging goal of integration at the local municipal level. This is explored using the theoretical model of a democratic welfare society, as developed by Jürgen Habermas.
Ethnic housing segregation, as a social problem, has evolved in several stages. In 1990 the promise became to combat ”problem areas” through various methods for integration, commitment, improved reputation, an increasing sense of community and environmental improvement. More recently, since 2000, the question of ethnic housing segregation appears to be being dealt with through a process of delegation of responsibility to various authorities with different areas of expertise and to local municipal authorities. This suggests a possible fragmentalization of approaches to ethnic housing segregation. In official discussion of ethnic housing segregation, an acknowledgement of the relational approach has been severely lacking. A review of the literature of neighbourhood effects shows that ethnic clustering can result in positive as well in negative effects. In a relational perspective, local networks are one of several other relations that, in combination with different structures and power distributions, effects integration between ethnic groups in the society.
Principles from new metropolitan policy, referred to as ”bottom-up”, are similar to Habermas’ ideal. However, the concrete experiences highlight the difficulty in offering possibilities for rational communication, development of communicative knowledge, and even less communicative power. The new metropolitan policy has posed a new formulation of threat and promise. The dichotomy of segregation versus integration has developed into one of exclusion versus participation. The ideal has changed from formal to subjective integration, which includes civil participation in state business. The neighbourhood has served as one arena to start inclusive processes. The practice, on the contrary, is still dominated by measures aimed at making society work more efficiently through state intrusion into private matters i.e. governmentalization.
Lund: Arkiv förlag , 2005. , 224 p.