Analyzing Neighborhood Effects on the Economic Mobility of the Inhabitants of Three Favelas in Salvador (Brazil) from a Social Network Perspective: The Importance of Urban Politics in Promoting Social Inclusion and Erradicating Residential Segregation

Monday, 11 July 2016: 14:30
Location: Marietta Blau Saal (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Stephan TREUKE, Universidade Federal Da Bahia, Brazil
The paper studies the neighborhood effects on the economic mobility of the inhabitants of three favelas of Brazil’s third biggest city, in other words the socio-economic advantages and disadvantages affecting the lifes of poor people due to their embeddedness in specific socio-residential contexts. Wilson (1987) concentrated on the structural dimensions of negative externalities in order to explain neighborhood-level  variations in a field of different phenomena (delinquency, violence, access to labour market and education) in spatial isolated and socially homogeneous areas. Kaztman/Filgueira (2006), however, argue that the contiguity between residents of poor neighborhoods and higher-class condominio-dwellers provides structures of opportunities. Analyzing the variability of interpersonal networks and their activition in the struggle for economic inclusion, the study confirms that the proximity of Nordeste de Amaralina to middle-/upper-class communities improves the access to labour opportunities. Nevertheless, residential stigmatization and mechanisms of social segmentation annihilate these potentials. The residents´ interpersonal networks reveal a high degree of redundancy and localism, based on social ties connecting family members. The resilience of segregational structures and the scarcity of economic opportunities in Plataforma lead to the naturalization of social distance patters whereas the social heterogeneity of Fazenda Grande II interviewees and the socialising effects of public institutions mitigate the negative repercussions of isolation. The networks’ composition admits a higher degree of heterofilia and greater proportion of weak ties (Granovetter 1973) facilitating economic mobility. Emphasizing the responsibility of urban politics in promoting social segregation in Salvador, the study reveals that public housing programs in Plataforma priorize technocratic habitational solutions without providing the residents’ socio-economic integration. The Nordeste de Amaralina case portrays the failing interest of urban politics to bridge the distances founded on mecanisms of social segmentation whereas in Fazenda Grande II housing programs complemented by employment creation and investments in infrastructure positively affect the residents’ economic mobility.