‘That neighbourhood is an ethnic bomb!’ The emergence of an urban governance apparatus in Western Europe

Picker, G. (2016) ‘That neighbourhood is an ethnic bomb!’ The emergence of an urban governance apparatus in Western Europe. European Urban and Regional Studies, 23(2), pp. 136-148. (doi: 10.1177/0969776413502659)

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In this article I investigate ethnographically the urban governance of Rancitelli, a marginalized neighbourhood in Pescara, Southern Italy; in the neighbourhood the majority of the members of the local unrecognized minority of Italian Roma reside. Although privately recognizing social problems concerning the neighbourhood and its residents, who live in marginal social conditions, local authorities are silent vis-à-vis these issues. Drawing on long-term fieldwork and analysis of local media and policy texts, I show that in the absence of local authorities’ official discourses on Roma and the neighbourhood, social order is continually maintained through an unofficial complex dynamic, which I call ‘urban governance apparatus’. I show that this ‘apparatus’ is composed of three elements, namely (1) public policy in the neighbourhood; (2) urban Roma stigma; and (3) what I call ‘surreptitious gazing’ in the neighbourhood. My argument is that when urban governance involves major tacit and unofficial dynamics – and this is especially true when unrecognized minorities are involved – the concept of ‘urban governance apparatus’ may better serve the aim of analysing and understanding certain local power dynamics.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Picker, Dr Giovanni
Authors: Picker, G.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:European Urban and Regional Studies
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1461-7145
Published Online:08 October 2013

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