Sociology Faculty Publications and Presentations

Inter-Group Perceptions and Representations in Two Barcelona Neighbourhoods: Poble Sec and Sagrada Família Compared

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The main focus of this chapter is on two Barcelona neighbourhoods: Sagrada Família (situated in the Eixample District) and Poble Sec (in the Sants-Montjuïc District). Among the outcomes, it can be highlighted that in both neighbourhoods, schools, public libraries and civic centres emerge as spaces where encounters and interrelations occur. Furthermore, the existence of a well-knit network of social organizations at neighbourhood level is a very useful tool for social cohesion, especially in Poble Sec. In the Sagrada Família neighbourhood, both cooperation and conflict between groups are rather scarce, and they are not as important to the neighbourhood’s life and to the residents’ perceptions as in Poble Sec. In explaining these differences, while the difference in the percentage of foreigners is an important factor, the urban fabric is equally crucial. Place and space do not only play a secondary role as the setting of the interaction; rather the configuration of areas where encounters occur has a significant influence on conflict and cooperation in neighbourhoods. Thus, a clear practical direction emerging from our research in Barcelona is that immigrant integration policies should be designed with space and place in mind not only as settings but also as objects of those same policies.


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Inter-group Relations and Migrant Integration in European Cities