Social Polarisation

1500 words 6 pages
With reference to specific examples, critically discuss the contention that cities are becoming increasingly polarised in the contemporary world.

Polarisation is a term that usually refers to ‘extreme of two extreme situations’. In this context, social polarisation is examined in detail. Social polarisation is an expression associated with the segregation within a society that may emerge from income inequality, real-estate fluctuations, economic displacements etc. and result in such differentiation that would consist of various social groups, from high-income to low-income (Moulaert, F. et al. (2003)). This essay will outline the two contrasting opinions that Sassen and Hamnett hold of the polarization thesis in the contemporary
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Although (Baum, 1997) proves that these sectors make up a large part of Sydney’s labour force, the statistics are not as strong as Hamnett (1994, 1996) points out when referring to Randstad and London. It can be said that this particular city has a ‘dual-trend in the occupational structure’ (Baum, 1997; 1887). At one end of the spectrum there is a growing rate of professional occupations, and on the other end there is growth in low-order jobs leading to a polarised occupational structure (Baum, 1997; 1887). The article adds to the argument that when discussing social polarisation, local and global aspects needs to be considered (Baum, 1997; 1900).
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Hamnett looks at Ranstad, Netherlands and does point out that there is evidence of polarisation within income and employment structures but he also illustrates that there is an increasing trend to professionalization as well. Hamnett did criticize the fact the Sassen thesis was largely based on two cities with a high immigration rate, which may have skewed her results. He states that like most western economies, the Netherlands does have a high influx of immigration, however it is not on as large of a scale as the US and therefore does not necessarily have as high of an impact on income groups (Hamnett, 1994; 422). Hamnett refers (Aztema, de Schmidt’s, 1992) paper on the employment structure in Ranstad, where it

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