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WPS No.38 | Pinkster, F.M., Ferier, M. and M. Hoekstra (2019) | On the stickiness of territorial stigma: diverging experiences in Amsterdam’s most notorious neighbourhood

In Western Europe, a select number of “ghettos” are at the forefront of public anxieties about urban inequality and failed integration. These notorious neighbourhoods at the bottom of the moral spatial order, are imagined as different and disconnected from the rest of the city. This paper examines how residents in Amsterdam Bijlmer, a peripheral social housing estate that has long been portrayed as the Dutch ghetto, experience the symbolic denigration of their neighbourhood.

Interviews show that all residents are highly aware of the negative racial, cultural and material stereotypes associated with their neighbourhood. However, these negative stereotypes are not equally felt: territorial stigma ‘sticks’ more to some residents than others, depending on how their class, race and place identity intersects with the Bijlmer “ghetto” imaginary. This research thus exposes substantial inequalities in who carries the burden of the blemish of place, explaining how residents differentially renegotiate territorial stigma.

This paper has now been published open access in Antipode - a Radical Journal of Geography.