Méndez, M. L., & Otero, G. (2017). Neighbourhood conflicts, socio-spatial inequalities, and residential stigmatisation in Santiago, Chile. Cities, Vol 74, pp. 75-82
This paper addresses the complex relationship between social inequality and urban conflict by offering a systematic and comprehensive approach to the articulation between macro structural inequality (density, segregation, concentration of high-income), meso level symbolic inequality (territorial stigma) and micro level experiences of conflict and place attachment. We contend that micro-social, neighbourhood level conflicts -mistakenly understood as ‘neighbourhood nuisances’ (e.g. noise, odours, parking)- are associated with larger scale urban conflicts. We also argue that the development of affective ties with the neighbourhood in which they reside can insulate people from neighbourhood conflict, as well as helping to lessen the impact structural inequality and stigmatisation. Drawing on the results of a representative survey of 2300 individuals, carried out in Chile’s capital city, Santiago, at the behest of the country’s Ministry of Justice, we apply multilevel logistical regression models. The results obtained allow us to question the prevailing view that regards neighbourhood conflicts as essentially superficial and localised. Our results show that the incidence of these ‘nuisances’ is not solely associated with individual socioeconomic circumstances, suggesting that they rather form part of a common framework of intersectional vulnerabilities. We suggest that suitable responses include the promotion of active forms of interconnectedness, which empower actors and challenge the noxious effects of the neoliberal model of development.