How public space affects interethnic contact: a methodological conceptualization

by Christian Jacobs

Working Papers WP 16-05
October 2016
ISSN 2192-2357 (MMG Working Papers Print)

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In this paper, I address the question of the circumstances under which migrants and non-migrants come into contact with one another. While in the literature the effects of such encounters and interactions are discussed quite frequently, the conditions leading to their occurrence are only rarely considered. In this paper, the relevance of public space for everyday encounters will be discussed.

A detailed comparative observation of fifty neighbourhoods in Germany was conducted. The different types of urban areas, as well as the opportunities for contact in the public spaces of every individual neighbourhood, were systematically analysed. This paper will outline a scheme for a systematic categorization of neighbourhoods according to the contact opportunities offered by their public spaces. It will be shown that public space helps to explain the emergence of interethnic contacts.

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