Migration and Spatial Urban Order under Conditions of Neoliberalization

Mathias Rodatz | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt

Vor­trag am 28.2.2012 im Rah­men der AAG 2012 in New York

The paper focu­ses the deve­lop­ment of admi­nis­tra­tive pro­ble­ma­tiza­ti­ons of migra­tion under con­di­ti­ons of the nor­malcy of urban neo­li­be­ra­lism in Ger­many. In the 1970s, urban admi­nis­tra­ti­ons star­ted governing migrant districts as »con­cen­tra­ti­ons of for­eig­ners«, pro­ble­ma­ti­zing them as signs of dis­in­te­gra­tion and urban decay and intro­du­cing poli­cies aiming at their dis­so­lu­tion. In con­trast, experts of city deve­lop­ment have star­ted to dis­co­ver migra­tion as an urban resource in terms of »diver­sity« in recent years, refer­ring to argu­ments and policy models infor­med by the work of Richard Flo­rida among others. Cor­re­spon­ding pro­grams are sug­gesting that Ger­man cities should give up their poli­cies of dese­gre­ga­tion and, fol­lo­wing policy models from more tra­di­tio­nal immi­gra­tion coun­tries, start to view migrant districts as pro­duc­tive sites of »diver­sity« fea­turing resour­ces for the »local eco­nomy« and »civil society«.

The paper will dis­cuss the strong reser­va­tions public admi­nis­tra­ti­ons have expres­sed against these chan­ges as well as exam­ples of suc­cess­ful policy imple­men­ta­ti­ons. It will argue that the imple­men­ta­tion of such chan­ges in urban migra­tion policy depends on the degree of nor­ma­liza­tion of neo­li­be­ral urban deve­lop­ment in other policy areas. The new poli­cies may be inter­pre­ted as a neo­li­be­ral dele­ge­timiza­ti­don of ethno-centric con­cep­ti­ons of urban order. As such, poli­cies of »diver­sity« are intro­du­cing the idea a of a cosmo­po­li­tan urban society but — under neo­li­be­ral con­di­ti­ons – are most likely to spell out as an uncer­tainty of urban belon­ging for spe­ci­fic cate­go­ries of »migrant com­mu­nities«, whose other­ness must con­ti­nuously prove not to be a risk to the neigh­borhood, but a means of productivity.

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