Accepted Paper:

The street, the square and the stairway: informal ways to manage the difference  
Ximene Rêgo (University of Minho)Raquel Carriconde (Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro)

Paper long abstract:

The fear of crime, so often associated with the fear of Others in the arena of public life, has been discussed as a threat to the very essence of the city: the celebration of diversity. It will be possible to reconcile the conflicting images - one that exalts the difference and one in which the difference is to be feared? From this question, we reflect upon a data set resulting from an ethnography conducted in Porto (Portugal) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in three observation units with a very distinct socio-spatial structure: a street, a square and a stairway.

It is understood that the social space is structured around proximity and estrangement/distance relationships which are, in turn, hierarchical relationships; these express, ultimately, a certain coexistence between the good and bad city or, in other words, between the city center and the peripheral city. Even if not fully airtight - as there are multiple crossings and mediation outlined between characters of different places of the city - these utterances articulate, however, an unequal occupation of space. Taking into account the issues of crime and eco-social conditions of their places of residence, this article seeks to illustrate how inhabitants of the street, the square and the stairway produce narratives and procedures that justify the day-to-day management of invisible boundaries.

Panel W053
Shaping urban inequalities: space and power in the city