The neighbourhood factor
International symposium at Bielefeld University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF)
Social inequality not only means inequality in income, but also inequality in health-related opportunities, for example. Little research has so far been conducted into the impact of neighbourhood context on the development of inequality. An international symposium being held at Bielefeld University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) from 2 until 4 June, seeks new methods to understand neighbourhood context and its significance for equality and inequality.
“Social inequality is on the increase - in Germany, too,” says Professor Dr Oliver Razum, public health scientist at Bielefeld University and one of the symposium’s organisers. “The factors leading to or cementing such inequalities cannot be countered until they are clearly understood. That is why at this symposium we are addressing neighbourhood context as an influential factor in social inequality.”
Social inequality can be measured in administrative units, for instance in municipal districts and cities. According to Razum, however, this raster grid is often too coarse to discover the factors that actually cause inequality. What is more, the fact that people move around in more than one neighbourhood is also overlooked.
One topic will therefore deal with redefining the concept of neighbourhood: as the individual neighbourhood of a person, as determined by natural conditions and borders, infrastructure, confrontation with environmental pollution or crime, but also as determined by the subjective perception of these circumstances.
The second challenge facing the 30 participants from five countries will be to take a closer look at the causal mechanisms and separate the effects stemming from surroundings from individual effects. Finally, the third set of issues will cover migrants and their often transnational neighbourhoods.
“If we really want to understand how inequality arises, we face great methodological challenges that can only be met in an interdisciplinary manner,” says Professor Razum. “That’s why researchers from such diverse fields as statistics, geography, sociology and epidemiology are coming together for our workshop.”
The symposium is entitled “Concepts and measurement of neighbourhood effects on social inequalities: large neighbourhoods, small neighbourhoods? Objective or subjective neighbourhood contexts?” The conference will take place in English.
Monday, 2 June 2014, 12.00 - 21.30
Tuesday, 3 June 2014, 9.00 - 17.30
Wednesday, 4 June 2014, 9.00 - 13.00
Further information is available online at:
Contact for content-related questions regarding the event:
Prof. Dr Oliver Razum, Bielefeld University
Faculty of Health Sciences
Telephone: +49 (0) 0521 106-3837
To register your attendance, please contact the symposium desk:
Trixi Valentin, Bielefeld University
Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF)
Telephone: +49 (0) 0521 106-2769