- The symbolic politics of gentrification: the restructuring of stigmatized neighborhoods in Amsterdam and Istanbul
- Environment and Planning A
- Volume | Issue number
- 46 | 6
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Since gentrification entails significant negative social consequences, one important question is why residents of neighborhoods on the verge of gentrification often do not effectively oppose the process. Why do residents not resist? And, if they resist, why are they not effective? To answer these questions, we attend to the symbolic politics of the gentrification: that is, the ways in which process is framed and experienced. We examine the dynamics of symbolic power as affixed to stigmatized neighborhoods in two radically different contexts: Istanbul and Amsterdam. In spite of stark differences between the cases (with gentrification in Istanbul being more ruthless and contentious), there are also striking similarities in how symbolic politics played out. In both cases the promoters of gentrification adopted a strategy of ‘divide and rule’ as they differentiated the residents into various groups and fed into territorial, ethnic and class stigmatization. The promoters of gentrification in both cases also strategically used time: they first exhausted residents by having them wait anxiously for a prolonged period of time, and then put intense pressure on them to make them accept they had to leave. Both strategies—‘divide and rule’ as well as the timing of interventions—undermined or preempted effective resistance against gentrification.
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