Living in the calm and safe part of the city : The socio-spatial reproduction of upper-middle class neighbourhoods in Malmö
Sammanfattning: When residential segregation is mentioned in news coverage and when it is talked about in everyday discourse in Sweden, it is very often associated with immigration and minority groups living in the poorer areas of the city. A common assumption is that “immigrants” actively withdraw from society and that they choose to live together rather than integrating with the majority population.This study, however, argues that discussions about segregation cannot be limited to the areas where minorities and poorer-income groups live, but must understand segregation as a process occurring in the whole system of urban neighbourhoods. In order to reach a more complete understanding of the ways in which segregation processes are at work in contemporary Swedish cities, knowledge is needed about the inhabitants with greater resources and power to choose their dwellings and residential areas.The neighbourhood choices of more privileged groups, and the socio-spatial reproduction of the areas of the upper-middle class, are investigated by applying a qualitative ethnographic framework. The thesis studies two neighbourhoods located in the post-industrial city of Malmö: Victoria Park, a US-inspired “lifestyle community” which is the first of its kind in Sweden, and Bellevue, older but still one of the most exclusive and high-status neighbourhoods in the city. In order to understand self-segregation among privileged groups, the study especially scrutinises the concepts of class and security as well as the impacts of neoliberalisation on the Swedish housing market.The main argument of the study is that the self-segregation by members of the upper-middle class demonstrates a rift which runs through the urban fabric of Malmö, splintering the city up into perceived separate worlds. The existence of physical, symbolic and social boundaries in Victoria Park and Bellevue reproduces these neighbourhoods as exclusive, private and tranquil spaces of the upper-middle class. By locating themselves in the calm and safe part of the city, the upper-middle class can buy security as a commodity, rather than relying on the welfare state to provide it for them.
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