Uneven development, racialized spatial injustice and the case of (de)segregation – draft paper

Abstract

Spatial injustice understood as “the spatial dimension of social injustice” is “caused by the power relations and procedures that enable the domination and oppression of certain groups of people, and by the way that space itself is constructed and used”, and it is about an unfair “distribution in space of socially valued resources and the opportunities to use them” (Ali Madanipour, Mark Shucksmith, Hilary Talbot, Jenny Crawford: Conceptual Framework for the ReLocal Project, 2017). The paper proposes the politicization of the concept of spatial injustice in the direction of conceiving it as a manifestation of uneven development that stays at the core of capitalism. It addresses the formation of an informal and systematically underdeveloped housing area in Cluj-Napoca, Romania that illustrates how capitalist development works by transforming the urban space into commodity that – on the one hand – serves capital accumulation and – on the other hand – intensifies the dispossession of labor. Marginal and destitute housing areas formed as a result of these processes are the low-cost locations where the exploited and expropriated cheap labor force is reproduced. Therefore, the interconnectedness of marginal spaces with racialized labor has a productive role in the formation of capitalism in Romania. One may observe that in the due process, both segregation and desegregation practices and discourses are contributing to the racialization of impoverished ethnic Roma and are intermingled with the (re)production of class inequalities.

Vincze_uneven development-racialized spatial injustice