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Tom Slater

In: The SAGE Handbook of New Urban Studies

Chapter 8: Territorial Stigmatization: Symbolic Defamation and the Contemporary Metropolis

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Territorial Stigmatization: Symbolic Defamation and the Contemporary Metropolis
Territorial Stigmatization: Symbolic Defamation and the Contemporary Metropolis
Tom Slater

Physical squalor is an affront to the order of society, which readily becomes associated with other signs of disorder in the public image. Crime, drunkenness, prostitution, feckless poverty, mental pathology do indeed cluster where housing is poorest – though not there only. Once this association has been taken for granted, any anomalous pattern of life embodied in shabby surroundings is easily assumed to be pathological, without much regard for the evidence. Bad housing thus becomes a symbol of complex discordances in the structure of society and so to be treated as if it were a cause of them. In this way, society hands its most intractable problems to ...

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