Neighbourhood stigma and social exclusion : the case of two Scottish peripheral estates
As a consequence of economic change and urban decline, stigma has become a feature of many neighbourhoods in western industrialised cities. Based upon the experiences of two housing estates located on the periphery of the Scottish city of Dundee, this thesis investigates the processes involved in the creation of poor neighbourhood reputation and examines the ways in which stigma influences residents. The study uses qualitative data from a large number of in-depth interviews and focus groups with residents, non-residents and professional stakeholders to illuminate how stigma was understood and experienced from different perspectives. The thesis argues that although the activity of labelling represents a pervasive social enterprise that is generally carried out with no intention to cause harm, it can have inadvertent consequences of negative discrimination and disadvantage. This assertion is demonstrated in the context of neighbourhood stigma and its ability to exert a powerful influence on the material and psychological well being of residents, which contributes towards their experience of disadvantage and exclusion from important aspects of economic, social and cultural life. The thesis also proposes that neighbourhood stigma is more harmful where disadvantage already exists, thereby perpetuating stigma and intensifying social exclusion. The thesis concludes by offering suggestions for tackling the problem of poor neighbourhood reputation and stigma in regeneration initiatives.