PhD defence G.J. (Gijs) Custers
- Prof.dr. G.B.M. Engbersen
- Dr. F.G. Snel
On Thursday 15 April 2021, G.J. Custers will defend his PhD dissertation, entitled: ‘The New Divided City; Class transformation, civic participation and neighbourhood context’.
This thesis investigates what changes have occurred in social divisions in Rotterdam in recent decades. Two types of social divisions were studied: social class and differences in citizen participation. Large-scale surveys and administrative data were used to study which inequalities exists in these areas.
The results show that the class structure of Rotterdam has become more ‘middle class’. The increasing level of education is an important factor in this transformation. Other relevant factors are changes in the labour market, i.e. an increase of workers with high occupational status, and the municipal policy aimed at attracting middle classes to the city. Although the share of vulnerable residents also increases to some extent, the growth of the various middle classes is the most dominant trend.
Furthermore, the thesis shows that differences in citizen participation between disadvantaged and affluent neighbourhoods have slightly decreased during the 2008-09 economic recession. In this period the so-called ‘participation society’ was introduced, which caused many to expect that inequalities in citizen participation would increase. However, in Rotterdam inequality in citizen participation decreased because social problems in disadvantaged neighbourhoods spurred local action and, in these neighbourhoods an organisational infrastructure exists that enables participation.
The general message of the thesis is that social inequality has not necessarily increased in past decades, as often is assumed, but that inequality may increase or decrease depending on institutional context.
Due to corona, the PhD defences do not take place publicly in the usual way in the Senate Hall or in the Professor Andries Querido Room. The candidates will defend their dissertation either in a small group or online.