Decivilisering en diabolisering. De transformatie van het Amerikaanse zwarte ghetto


  • Wacquant,Loïc J. D.


Black Americans, Ghettos, Urban decline, Social disorganization, Stereotypes, Collective representation, Central cities, Elias, Norbert, Underclass, Civil society


Decivilization and Demonization. The Transformation of the Black American Ghetto. Examines the transformation since the 1960s of the black ghettos of US inner cities, adopting the connected perspectives of decivilization on a material and relational level and of demonization on a discursive and symbolic level. Decivilization is defined as a reversal of Norbert Elias's (1990) notion of civilization as a process of increasing social unity under a pacifying state; in the case of US ghettos, it is characterized by three developments: (1) depacification of daily life and disintegration of public space; (2) withdrawal of local, regional, and national organizations; and (3) social dedifferentiation and economic informalization. On the symbolic level, this process of decivilization is echoed in the isolation and, hence, demonization of the culturally differentiated black subproletariat through the semijournalistic/-academic notion of the underclass. Such a notion is found to remove the problem of the ghetto from its historical and political context and imbue it with essentialist and ethnicity-based biases. Thus, decivilization and demonization reinforce each other and together serve to legitimize policies of urban abandonment and punitive containment. Adapted from the source document.

Biografie auteur

Wacquant,Loïc J. D.