American Sociological Association

Three Types of Neighborhood Reactions to Local Immigration and New Refugee Settlements

Neighborhoods can potentially be mediators of inclusion (but also of exclusion) of immigrants if they host institutions that might foster social encounters across different social groups. This can be realized, for example, by means of community centers, schools, or public libraries, or by allowing everyday social encounters, such as in public spaces. But it is not only in the United States that public discussions on immigration and its impact on local neighborhoods are viewed in many cases negatively and with fear of “the great unknown” (Bauman 2016, p. 106). This is especially true since growing numbers of refugees have reached some industrialized countries in recent years.1 New refugee accommodation facilities and refugee hostels have been erected in neighborhoods in European cities, but also in rural areas. There is some reason to say that such fears of expected neighborhood transformation are important reasons for the increase in popularity of right-wing parties, for example, in the United States, but also in Europe. This is true, for instance, in Hungary, Poland, Germany, the United Kingdom (particularly with respect to Brexit and a rising share of votes for UKIP), France (with the growing success of the Front National), and Austria (with the FPÖ reaching the second ballot in the presidential election). But, what development is taking place in neighborhoods from a sociological perspective?

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Lars Meier





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