The sense of place behind segregating practices: An ethnographic approach to the symbolic partitioning of Metro Manila

Garrido, M.

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Garrido, M. (2013). The sense of place behind segregating practices: An ethnographic approach to the symbolic partitioning of Metro Manila. Social Forces, 91(4), 1343–1362.

The literature on cities in the developing world equates segregation with the proliferations of enclaves and slums and tends to overlook how the people associated with those places are further segregated in public spaces and enclaves. To account for the symbolic partitioning of Metro Manila, I document the segregating practices of the residents of enclaves (villagers) and slums (squatters). These practices reveal a well-developed sense of place on both sides, a commitment to the relative status positioning of the two groups as expressed through their separation in space. A sense of place explains why squatters and villagers engage in segregating practices. It also enables us to identify other spatial practices that conform to or challenge its logic. Integrating practices are largely consistent with a sense of place, while desegregating practices challenge it and may set up or advance contentious situations. By using this approach we are better able to understand how class patterns of residential segregation are extended to encompass virtually all urban spaces where class interaction occurs.

Main finding
The author finds that residents' sense of place significantly regulates interaction across class in all spaces, regardless of the availability of public space. The author found different types of segregating practices among residents. Villagers of gated neighborhoods use exclusion and circumscription to keep squatters out of certain spaces and contained to certain areas, while squatters used avoidance. These segregating practices were observed in the restricted use of interior spaces for hired maids, the segregation of church services, the quarantined housing of refugees, and the segregation of Halloween celebration. Villagers' sense of place was based on a perception of superiority and intrinsic difference, proprietary claims on resources, and a fear of crime, while squatters' sense of place was one of inferiority. Most of the interaction observed was defined by class status and place stigma.

Description of method used in the article
The author conducted one year of participant observation in two households of gated neighborhoods and in-depth interviews with residents of gated neighborhoods and slums (n = 189). These methods built on two and a half years of research in Manila.

Of some practical use if combined with other research

Organising categories

Other or N/A
Interviews Participant Observation
Physical types
Geographic locations