The study The study focuses on social differentiation within neighbourhoods urban milieusit compares neighbourhood spaces within neighbourhoods, it studies domestic work, it analyses local spatial politics and attempts by urban elites to create enclaves, it analyses religious spaces Islamic prayer places and a charismatic church as well as shopping malls.
The PhD thesis provides a micro-perspective on the agency of urban dwellers in dealing with, reproducing, adjusting and negotiating space and difference through practices of boundary drawing and connecting. The data for this thesis was collected during 14 months of ethnographic fieldwork conducted with the multi-sited neighbourhood approach a combination of neighbourhood study, 'following the people' and analysis of spaces of encounter.
The case studies were compared with a style of comparison coined interpretive, post-'crisis' comparison, a reflexive, procedural approach which compares urban practices in their respective context. Based on a conceptualisation of space and difference as constituted by a perceived, conceived and lived dimension Lefebvre the gruppenstunde kennenlernen argues that we need to pay more attention to the agency of urban dwellers in appropriating urban spaces.
Less powerful urban dwellers prove to be able to transform spaces like shopping single muslim ladies in johannesburg and enclaves of the elite into lived spaces with manifold uses and meanings in ways which are often ignored by the powerful.