Bürk et al. (2012) and Wacquant et al. (2014) define territorial stigmatization as the durable ascription of negative images to certain spaces and their inhabitants. Relying on the works of Goffman (1963) and Bourdieu (1991), the concept links the notion of stigma as “discrediting difference” from the norm to the symbolic power of authorities “to name, to identify, [and] to categorize” in order to show how these mental images tend to “stick” and become a material reality in space. For Wacquant et al. (2014) spatial disgrace is often connected to poverty, subaltern ethnicity, degraded housing, imputed immorality and street crime in so-called “problem quarters”.
Following a neoliberal individualization paradigm, these socio-economic problems are not ascribed to structural ill-beings but to social pathologies and “intrinsic sociocultural traits” of the inhabitants. This discursive shift of responsibility for the causes of marginalization and peripheralization to the inhabitants themselves does not only legitimize the status quo, but also the further neglect of space. Therefore, it strengthens existing structural disadvantages and barriers to the development of marginalized spaces by filtering external and local perceptions and thus in turn affecting the thoughts and behavior of actors (Bürk et al. 2012). Moreover, it limits possible coping strategies.