Managing Marginality in Railway Stations: Beyond the Welfare and Social Control Debate

Abstract : How to rid railway stations of the marginalized people who congregate in them? This is the problem faced by railway companies which are seeking to maximize the attraction of their spaces. The limitations of a strictly repressive policy are leading railway companies to fund non-profit community based organizations to carry out social policies aimed at the marginalized. Based on two monographs in the railway stations of Lyon and Milan, the article analyzes how this strategy was implemented. The analysis requires a distinction to be drawn between two conceptions, one which sees social policies and security policies as polar opposites, and the other which identifies them with one another. The work of the non-profit community-based organizations shows that the boundary between social policy and security policy is a tenuous one, since the principal aim is to disperse the marginalized and move them away from the station. Control of the marginalized is based on the use of incentive structures rather than on coercion. The organizations also have to retain control of their philanthropic legitimacy, which they are selling to the railway companies, but which they are also putting at risk. Attention to the agency of the actors allows us to avoid an irenic analysis (in which "human" and "just" social policies come to the aid of the marginalized) and a malefic analysis (in which social policies are merely security policies in disguise).
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International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley, 2009, 33 (4), pp.1029-1044
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François Bonnet. Managing Marginality in Railway Stations: Beyond the Welfare and Social Control Debate. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley, 2009, 33 (4), pp.1029-1044. 〈halshs-00879313〉

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