Key Concepts in Urban Studies Lecture Series
Defining “exclusion” is far from straightforward. The main theoretical problem is that exclusion is closely related to other concepts frequently used for similar, and yet not exactly analogous, phenomena, such as poverty, inequality, marginality, inaccessibility, peripherality, and the like, whose disciplinary borders are conveniently blurred. Some accounts focus on exclusion as a matter of resource distribution versus relational issues, static versus dynamic, lack of resources versus wealth of opportunities, conditions (legal, institutional, educational) versus feeling of being excluded etc. There is hardly any consensus that goes beyond the core negative meaning of “exclusion”, and even less on its production, manifestations and reproduction. Moreover, just as the idea of exclusion has many meanings, so it can also serve a variety of political purposes. As a consequence, different political understandings of exclusion have crucial impacts on people´s lives. Similar to matters of definition, there also exists a vast range of methodological approaches when it comes to studying exclusion empirically. We argue that both the focus on macro-economic trends as well as the attention on micro-level effects of exclusion have their merits – yet both may also prove troublesome if assumed to be devoid of theoretical and methodological research perspectives. In this seminar, we will briefly review and systematize the plurality of meanings of social, spatial and financial forms of exclusion both in theory and in policy practice.
Laura Colini works on urban policies, multi-level governance and marginalization. She is an architect and PhD in Urban and Territorial Studies at the University of Florence in Italy and MIT Boston (USA), postdoctoral Marie Curie Fellow at the Mediacity Programme, coordinator of the PhD Urban Heritage Programme at Bauhaus University Weimar (DE). Currently, she is a researcher at IRS, Leibniz Institute in Berlin (DE).