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“As a Native Person,Why Should I Adapt?”:
A Multimethod Approach to Majority Finns’ Attitudes Towards Multiculturalism

Abstract

Multiculturalism is a controversial concept and a debated topic. To develop scientific analysis and inform political discussions, it is important to study how lay people evaluate it. Previous research has mostly regarded attitudes towards multiculturalism as unidimensional. This research often relies on the operationalisation offered by the Multicultural Ideology Scale (MIS), in which minorities’ cultural maintenance and acceptance of cultural diversity are central. In this multimethod study, we take a critical perspective on such operationalisation and examine majority of Finns’ responses to MIS in a survey and in focus group discussions. By approaching evaluation processes as social interaction, we challenge the unidimensionality assumption of attitudes towards multiculturalism. We show how cultural essentialism and nationalism are used in arguing for and against multiculturalism, and in negotiating its boundaries so that the majority can keep its dominant position. This conflicts with recognition and equality that are widely considered as cornerstones of multiculturalism.

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In-Between Space/Time:
Affective Exceptionality during the ‘Refugee Crisis’ in Northern Finland

Abstract

This article analyses the ‘European refugee crisis’ in the context of Northern Finland, building on the concepts of exceptionality and affect. Conventionally, exceptionality is conceptualised from the perspective of the state that does not enable analysing exceptional situations in their broader social context. A shift in focus is required to understand how people perceive and experience exceptionality and what kinds of affects this involves. Based on participatory engagement and in-depth interviews with asylum-seekers living in reception centres in Northern Finland and local residents in their neighbourhood, our analysis demonstrates that exceptionality gains diverse meanings in different contexts. We propose affective exceptionality as a conceptual tool for analysing affects in transformational situations in which people’s sense of the ‘normal’ becomes disrupted and illustrate how placing emphasis on subjects who experience and embody exceptionality in their everyday lives enables a more nuanced understanding of exceptionality, centralising the people instead of the state.

Open access
Financing Low-income Housing in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe: Implications for the Right to the City and Inclusivity

Abstract

Accessing finances for housing has been a major problem for people on low-incomes and this has been weighing heavily on them as they try to access housing. Financial institutions in the city of Bulawayo are failing to come up with financial products that suit low-income clients. There are an estimated 110000 low-income residents among the estimated 250000 residents of Cowdray Park low-density residential area in Bulawayo. This has also affected their right to the city as they have been excluded from the housing delivery system. There are so many initiatives that have been available to those on a low-income but these initiatives have rarely benefited the urban poor of the city. This research has examined how the financial services that exist in the housing sector have been crafted to benefit the urban poor. The research employed a mixed methods approach to the inquiry, where a questionnaire was the main quantitative method used and in-depth interviews and observations were the qualitative methods that complemented it. The research found that there are various financial services that are available in Zimbabwe, but these financial facilities rarely help the urban poor. The majority of the poor have been managing without any financial support and this has been stalling their access to housing. Most housing products are fashioned along neo-liberal economic principles that have very little to offer the urban poor. This has therefore denied the urban poor in the city of Bulawayo their right to the city. Most cities in Zimbabwe are struggling to satisfy their housing demand as they have long housing waiting lists. Research therefore recommends the crafting of financial facilities that are best targeted on the urban poor, and are specially adapted to their financial conditions.

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Luanda’s Slums: An overview based on poverty and gentrification

Abstract

Slum redevelopment is occurring at a rapid pace in many African cities. This paper examines the urban development of contemporary Luanda, the capital of Angola. Central to this examination is an analysis of the city’s slums according to Foucault’s concept of governmentality. The focus is on the chaotic urban development that has resulted from the civil war and on the effects of poverty and gentrification in many of Luanda’s slums. The policy of violence towards slum population adopted by the municipality appears to define a technology of domination, the subjection of the individual to the formation of the state. However, with the high earnings obtained from oil production, the country clearly has the resources needed to fund investments in electricity and utility systems. The continuing persistence of slums and a housing policy based on neglect signifies a form of governmentality, adopted as a means of government coercion and a way of dominating the poor population. The paper closes with a set of policy implications for action.

Open access
The Nexus Between Urbanisation and Human Empowerment: Income Group Based Findings of Bidirectional Causality

Abstract

The economic and social drivers of democratisation and the emergence and establishment of democratic institutions are longstanding themes of academic discourse. Within this broad body of literature, it has been argued that the process of urbanisation is also conducive to the emergence and consolidation of democracy through a number of different channels. Cities offer better access to education and facilitate organised public action and the demand for more democratic rule and respect of human rights. The nexus between urbanisation and human rights is the theme that is taken up in the present paper. Using a sample of 123 countries for the period 1981–2011, the paper examines empirically the association between urbanisation and human empowerment using the Cingranelli-Richards Index. In broad terms, the findings reported herein do not point to a strong nexus across all income groups. Nevertheless, there is evidence suggesting the presence of such a statistically significant positive association in specific cases.

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Riding without a ticket: geography of free fare public transport policy in Poland

Abstract

A policy instrument promoting a free fare public transport policy (FFPT) has recently been put into practice in 66 municipalities across Poland. By contributing to the academic debate on the concept of FFPT (e.g. Kębłowski 2019), the main goal of this paper is to create a typology of the schemes where FFPT is in operation in Poland based on analyses of a geographical mapping of these projects. This study analyses how different municipalities are implementing the concept in order to define a typology of FFTP projects and to understand how the development landscape of the urban transport system is changing in the light of free fare transport policies, topics which are not fully covered in the academic literature. The findings confirm that there is a new dynamic in the development of urban transport systems and permit the identification of key characteristics of this trend. Besides the typology of implementation of FFPT, the study also presents an up-to-date inventory of FFPT projects with the key characteristic features of each system. Although the study does not provide specific recommendations regarding the introduction of a FFPT policy, it represents a good starting point for future and more detailed studies. Such studies are necessary in order to understand the role of FFPT not only in the context of the development of a given transport system, its impact on modal split, and travel behaviour, but also to uncover the different politics which lie behind them.

Open access
The Rise and Fall of the Celtic Tiger and the evolution of an Urban System: 1996–2011

Abstract

During the 1990s the Celtic Tiger era began in the Republic of Ireland. This article tracks the response of the Irish Urban System to that remarkable period of growth ended abruptly with the Global Economic Crisis of 2008. Using Small Area Population Statistics from Ireland’s Central Statistics Office for the years 1996, 2002, 2006 and 2011 it was possible to record growth across the towns and cities of Ireland that constituted the Irish Urban System. The location, size, type and rates of change were recorded and mapped with a view towards discovering the extent to which the urban hierarchy and the spatial distribution was being altered, and by what geographical processes. Over 15 years the national population grew by 26% with most of that growth taking place in urban centres. A clear diffusion outwards from the Dublin region is noticeable and the capital’s role in systemic change is explored alongside other factors. The article highlights the changing nature of growth over time and, based on the empirical observations made, identifies a sequence of clear stages in the growth of the urban system. The article concludes with a proposal for a Model of Urban System Evolution under conditions of Rapid Economic Growth based on the distinct phases, or stages, of growth identified in Ireland’s towns and cities from 1996–2011.

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Economic and functional changes in the largest villages in Poland at the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century

Abstract

The article deals with selected aspects of the economic structure and functions of the largest villages in Poland. The main aim of the study is to investigate the diversity and changes that can be observed to have happened since before the fall of Communism in Poland. Large villages with populations exceeding 5,000 inhabitants are located in the same part of the rural–urban continuum as small towns, including many poviat (1) seats. For this reason, they are an interesting comparative category of settlement units. The study was based on a source database from the end of the last century and on contemporary public data from the REGON database. The comparison is based not only on various data, but also uses various research methodologies.

Open access
Housing in multiple occupation and studentification in Johannesburg

Abstract

Research concerning studentification is growing in importance. The supply of private student accommodation forms part of the wider urban process of studentification which documents changes in the social, economic and cultural fabric of cities. Although scholarly interest concerning the supply of private student accommodation has enjoyed sustained interest in the global North, only limited work is available surrounding the supply and demand for private student accommodation in global South urban centres. In South Africa there has been growing recognition of the impact of the studentification that has accompanied the massification of tertiary education in the post-apartheid period. Using interviews with key stakeholders, suppliers of student accommodation, as well as focus groups with students, this paper explores the supply of houses in multiple occupation and students’ perspectives on such properties in Johannesburg, South Africa. One distinctive influence upon the studentification process in South Africa is the impact of the national government funding system which was restructured in order to support the tertiary education of students from previously disadvantaged communities.

Open access