Dissertation defence
Dissertation defence – Kim Roelofs

Friday 5 April, 13:00 - 17:00
Niagara, auditorium C (C0E11), Nordenskiöldsgatan 1
This event has passed
Kim Roelofs

Title of the dissertation

Concealed Stigmatization: Resident Experiences and Practices in Area-Based Development in Gårdsten


Associate Professor Dominika Vergara Polanska, Södertörn University, Sweden

Examination committee

  • Associate Professor Henrik Gutzon Larsen, Lund University, Sweden
  • Professor Kristina Grange, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden
  • Associate Professor Susanne Urban, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Associate Professor Hoai Anh Tran, Malmö University, Sweden (substitute)

Public defence chairperson

Professor Karin Grundström, the Department of Urban Studies, Malmö University


This page will be updated on the day of the defence to include a live stream video of the event.


Questions for the public defence can be sent in advance to the defence chairperson at us@mau.se 

The examination committee grades the thesis as PASSED



This thesis studies resident experiences and practices in area-based development in the residential area Gårdsten, Gothenburg. Since 1997, the public housing company Gårdstensbostäder has had the responsibility to positively develop Gårdsten, which until then was considered run down and stigmatized. Gårdstensbostäder has received praise for their area-based work in Gårdsten, especially when the area received better ratings on the Police’s List of Vulnerable Areas. While several studies have focused on the resident experience of living in a stigmatized area, few studies have focused on resident experiences with area-based development. This thesis studies how resident experiences of and practices related to area-based development are shaped by territorial stigmatization. The study is based on semi-structured interviews and go-alongs with twenty-one Gårdsten residents. The study uses theories on territorial stigmatization (Wacquant, 2008; Garbin & Millington, 2012), stigmatization (Tyler, 2020) and space (Bourdieu, 1999; Massey, 2005). Despite informants being positive about Gårdstensbostäder’s work in the area, their experiences and practices continue to be shaped by territorial stigmatization. I identify three components to the territorial stigmatization that Gårdsten is currently subjected to: continuing stickiness; pragmatic resistance; and instances of blurring. These three components constitute a new form of territorial stigmatization in Gårdsten, which I call concealed stigmatization. Behind the positive representations that emphasize Gårdstensbostäder’s success, nuanced, multi-layered resident experiences of continued stigmatization are concealed. The thesis critically assesses the role of area-based initiatives and Swedish public housing, identifying limits to area-based approaches organized and coordinated by public housing companies.