Dissertation Abstracts

In the Center, On the Margin: A Sociological Study of the Urban and Social Consequences of State Housing policies in Inner City Porto, Portugal

Author: Queirós, João , jqueiros@letras.up.pt
Department: Sociology
University: University of Porto, Portugal
Supervisor: Virgílio Borges Pereira
Year of completion: 2014
Language of dissertation: Portuguese

Keywords: Housing policies , State , Social change , Porto
Areas of Research: Housing and Built Environment , Regional and Urban Development , Social Classes and Social Movements


This dissertation aims to provide a socio-historical appraisal and a sociological analysis of the genesis, structuring and social consequences of the urban and housing projects put forward by the state in Porto’s historic centre. Organised in two parts, this dissertation starts by identifying and characterising such projects, in order to provide the basis for a sociological sketch of the bureaucratic field, as seen in Porto and Portugal in the past half century. The goal is not only to integrate an analysis of the rise, development and transformation of the field of production of urban and housing policies with a reading of the country’s and the city’s main economic, political and social changes. The dissertation also scrutinizes the relations between the state and the subjects of those policies. It does so through the consideration of the main urban and social changes in Porto’s inner city and the examination of how those changes have been accommodated and perceived by locals. The second part of the dissertation furthers the analysis by presenting and discussing the results of fieldwork conducted in Bairro do Aleixo. Bairro do Aleixo is a council housing estate located in a riverside location just outside the city centre. It was built in the mid-1970s to accommodate around 320 families displaced from Porto’s ancient core as a result of the urban renewal of that area. One of the most degraded--and surely the most vilified--council housing estate in Porto, Bairro do Aleixo is an appropriate case for the sociological analysis of the personal and collective effects of state urban and housing projects and for the wider study of the role the state plays in the (re)production of the city’s urban and social structure and in the (re)definition of the place the working class occupies within that structure.

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