The paper is about politics of inclusion at the meso level: urban policy and politics of inclusion in Copenhagen with reference to the American and European discourse on underclass and social exclusion in the City. The argument in the paperis that contemporary urban policy in Denmark can be characterised by a duality between 1. Participatory empowering welfare oriented inclusion strategies, which targets deprived districts and neighbourhoods (politics of positive selectivism recognising increasing spatial inequality as a political issue) - based on notions of the Multicultural and Solidaristic City. 2. Neoelitist/corporatist market driven strategic growth strategies, which are based on notions of the Entrepreneurial City. The tension between the two orientations represents the most important challenge for urban democracy and inclusive governance concerned with problems of overcoming social polarisation in the urban space. The first part of the paper reviews contemporary social sciences and outlines a broader framework for the understanding of present forms of social exclusion and integration in the City. The second part interprets the urban policy changes in a historical context with emphasis on how the transition towards a new post-industrial economy and urban form was mediated via political and institutional struggles over the form and content of urban policy in Copenhagen.
Main Research Area:
Urban and Regional Sociology, Reseach Committe 21, ISA, 2006