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The Great Cut: The Support for Private Modes of Social Evasion by Public Policy


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Atkinson, RG 2008 , 'The Great Cut: The Support for Private Modes of Social Evasion by Public Policy' , Social Policy and Administration, vol. 42, no. 6 , pp. 593-610 , doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9515.2008.00626.x.

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The counterpart city represents an attempt to conceptualize the hidden spaces inhabited by social
problems and ‘problem’ people who are counter to the mainstream, or included, modes of contemporary
urban social life. This ‘opposite’, or negative, space comprises the spatially withdrawn and
socially excluded who are largely outside the purview of the comfortable classes of the same cities.
Not only has residential segregation been sustained over recent decades, so too have mobile circuits
of mutual exclusion been created, which enable higher-income groups to avoid the associated
negative externalities of poverty (visibility, disorder, aggression and so on). As responsibility for
dealing with social risks has become devolved to the level of the household, the desire for social
evasion, as politicians, media systems and welfare patterns mark out threatening territories, has
become more evident. The counterpart city is shunned in ever more elaborate ways and with the
support of public policies. As the ‘spatial’ social policies, housing and urban, have become
increasingly criminalized in the focus of their agendas, such interventions expend energy to
facilitate this separation between affluent and poor. Traditional imperatives for public intervention
are diminished as poverty has become more concealed from affluence – its costs and impacts evaded
by technologies, socio-spatial circuits and policies that skirt those who are locked into places of
poverty and abject marginality, a constellation of social forces and effects I term the great cut.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Atkinson, RG
Keywords: Urban social life • Social exclusion • Counterpart city
Journal or Publication Title: Social Policy and Administration
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/j.1467-9515.2008.00626.x
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