Élet egy kisváros peremén = Living at the edge of a small town

Fehér, Katalin and Virág, Tünde (2014) Élet egy kisváros peremén = Living at the edge of a small town. Tér és Társadalom, 28 (3). pp. 50-65. ISSN 2062-9923

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Municipal governments and citizens continually shape and differentiate spaces. These spaces map social distances by their spatial isolation. Out of the three social housing blocks in a small town of the Great Plain, the lowest-status settlement’s history encompasses a former distinguished officers’ residence that turned into a Roma ghetto. Several factors played equally important roles in taking the social housing estate to a position on the edge, not only spatially but also socially: On the one hand, it was the demolition of the former settlements and the ensuing enforced mobility, the housing policy of the town and the unequal allocation of social housing units, on the other hand, it was the selection processes evolving in the marginalised block. In the eyes of the majority, the population of the settlement seems socially and ethnically homogenous and it is uniformly stigmatised by the local institutions and the other inhabitants. Analysing both financial stability and survival strategies of the block’s residents, we have found that families living there show rather large differences in this respect, and that they constitute a heterogeneous population. The settlement comprises people living in differing socio-economic conditions; one circle of families lives in a relatively stable situation with steady incomes, another is in unstable, uncertain circumstances, while there are indebted families living from one day to another and expecting their eviction from their tenement any time. Tenants identified with relatively stable backgrounds are both the ones that moved in first into the social housing block and the well embedded families who are gaining stability through their personal social networks. Whereas the situation of newcomers – those who recently moved in from predominantly lower-status areas of the town, temporary family shelters or from farm buildings in the outer areas – is the most unstable. However, even those families with the most stable financial background cannot afford to buy an independent home or rent a flat on the private market. Spatial and, consequently, social mobility is almost impossible for those occupants. Between families having lived side by side for years and decades, tight, sometimes familial relations are woven. These relations help in everyday survival but also keep those families isolated in their inner – hermetic - social network. In parallel with the marginalisation of the settlement, the binding connections that can advance the survival of these families became more and more important while linkages toward other social groups and the majority institutions that could foster spatial and social mobility are lost.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Alföld, kirekesztés, lakhatás, szociális bérlakás, társadalmi kapcsolatok, térbeli és társadalmi egyenlőtlenségek
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation / földrajz, antropológia, kikapcsolódás > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography / gazdasági-társadalmi földrajz > GF1 Settlement geography / településföldrajz
H Social Sciences / társadalomtudományok > HM Sociology / társadalomkutatás
Depositing User: György Váradi
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2014 09:56
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2015 15:46

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