Urban Segregation and the Paradigm of Security - A Discourse Analysis of Swedish Urban Policies

University essay from Malmö universitet/Fakulteten för kultur och samhälle (KS)

Abstract: The aim of this thesis is to explore the modalities of Swedish urban policy in its approach to urban segregation. By using a diachronic discourse analytic approach inspired by Foucault, I attempt to reconstruct the narrative of urban policy by looking at the problematizations of urban phenomena in urban programmes extending over the course of two decades. With respect to situating urban policy between the material realities of the spaces it seeks to address and the political rationalities that underline their framing in policies, I have used Foucault’s concepts of governmentality and dispositif. The overarching goal of this study is to demonstrate the contentious nature of policy decisions which have been informed by the material realities of segregated areas as much as they have been informed by dominant socio-political and economic narratives under which the rhetoric construct of ‘breaking segregation’ (Andersson, 2006) has been subsumed. The study shows that policy decisions are often submerged in the “truth effects” of discourses established well beyond the boundaries of concentrated urban poverty, such as narratives of flows and mobility, sustainable development or economic growth - which in turn significantly affect the policy interpretation of phenomena such as poverty, urban crime and ethnic polarization.

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