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Panel 1. Spaces of the rich and powerful: Producing and reproducing privileged neighbourhoods


  • Anthony Miro Born, Department of Sociology, London School of Economics and Political Science.
  • Lars Meier, Institute of Sociology, Goethe University Frankfurt.


While marginalised and gentrifying areas have been extensively studied by urban researchers, neighbourhoods of privilege and power have frequently been ignored. At the last RC21 conference in Athens, for example, not a single session was devoted to these urban spaces at the upper end of the class structure. Indeed, as Wacquant (2023) recently put it: ‘Urban scholars have consistently overlooked districts of wealth, power, and privilege for the simple reason that they pose few “social problems” to city managers and because sociologists have long harbored a romantic infatuation with subordinate social categories and territories’ (p. 44). Following the nascent work in the sociology of elites and some authors who have emphasised the spatial dimensions (e.g., Caldeira, 2000; Pinçon and Pinçon-Charlot, 2007; Holmqvist, 2017; Wiesel, 2018; Atkinson, 2020), this session aims to look ‘up’ and direct attention to the analysis of privileged and prestigious neighbourhoods. Thus, our session seeks to shed light on the often underexplored dynamics of how these spaces are produced and reproduced. We are looking for contributions based on conceptual and/or empirical work, offering contemporary and historical insights and reflections from very different parts of the world. In particular, we invite contributions that

(1) delve into the political and symbolic dimensions of how privileged neighbourhoods are produced and reproduced in different contexts;

(2) offer comparative insights into the formation of neighbourhoods of privilege and prestige, facilitating dialogues between and within the Global North and the Global South;

(3) extend recent ethnographic interest in the study of elite neighbourhoods, providing insights into the contemporary dynamics of everyday life in privileged spaces;

(4) promote a relational approach that enhances our understanding of how these areas can be studied ‘hand in hand’ with urban marginality.

Centro de Estudios de Conflicto y Cohesión Social.

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