ABSTRACT

For most contemporary city dwellers, or indeed visitors to the city, the experience of walking along a city street, and musing on the diversity of faces they see and languages they hear, on the shops with arrays of different products and smells, restaurants displaying foods and recipes from across the world, is a sensory delight. This is the contemporary phantasmagoric ‘multicultural’ city, where people of different races, ethnicities, class locations, ages and sexualities live side by side, produced by a complex set of socio-economic, global/local, political and sociodemographic shifts which mean that living with difference, though always a feature of urban life, is probably now quintessentially what city life is about. But running alongside this celebratory urban narrative, constituted by the very same processes, is the city as a space of segregation, division, exclusion, threat and boundaries, where the story of city life as mixing and mingling is replaced by a story of antagonism, fear and exclusion.