Marginalized Places and Populations: A Structurationist Agenda

Marginalized Places and Populations: A Structurationist Agenda

Marginalized Places and Populations: A Structurationist Agenda

Marginalized Places and Populations: A Structurationist Agenda

Synopsis

This book is about the forces and processes that continue to sustain pervasive inequalities in modern capitalist societies. It centers around the rise of structuration theory in geography and how this approach may be applied in order to comprehend the deepening chasms between classes, races, ethnic groups, and individuals in North America today. Inner city urban neighborhood decay, growing poverty, widening wealth gaps, and sustained racial and gender discrimination in the workplace all have spatial components. Structuration theory, originally expounded by Anthony Giddens, seeks to confront the relation between agency and structure in the social sciences. The centerpiece of structuration theory is duality of structure, the force that produces and reproduces the fabric of everyday life. The chapters in this volume successfully apply Giddens's theory to a number of specific institutions and locales where unequal access to basic resources is notably pronounced.

Excerpt

Persistent inequalities in the well-being of peoples and places continue to characterize advanced capitalist societies. Here a complex web of entrenched forces-- business cycle fluctuations, uneven development at diverse spatial scales, differential access to status and wealth across populations--have generated deeply rooted inequalities that continue to defy simple capitalist policy prescriptions. Indeed, their observable manifestations (inner-city neighborhood decay, growing poverty, a widening wealth gap, the sustained racial and gender discrimination in the workplace) suggest to some that many of these societies are now teetering on the brink of crisis. Whether this point is correct is certainly worthy of debate; it is sufficient to note in this introduction that in the face of this reality growing inequality has recently been put back on the mainstream agenda in the social sciences.

These social and geographical divisions materially affect the life chances of individuals who have been unjustly marginalized on the basis of their race, ethnicity, gender, or class. If we are to redress these inequalities effectively, it is essential that we first understand the mechanisms by which such inequalities are societally generated and maintained. A key premise of this book is that the social construction of inequality is intimately bound up with processes that divide . . .

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