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  Associated with the ecological ideas of the Chicago school of urban sociology, the concept of segregation refers both to processes of social differentiation (usually at the urban scale) and to the spatial patterns that result from such processes. According to the Chicago sociologists, ethnic groups in American cities went through a series of stages from contact and competition to conflict and eventual assimilation. Social geographers and \'spatial sociologists\' argued that patterns of residential segregation could be taken as an index of that process. indices of segregation were calculated and refined (Peach, 1975; Peach et al., 1981), often with the implication that some form of dispersal (voluntary or induced) would be a desirable policy response. Studies have focused on the high levels of segregation in American cities, particularly among African-American and Hispanic minorities (e.g. Massey and Denton, 1993), and on whether similar ghettoes exist elsewhere (e.g. Peach, 1996). The balance between voluntary and involuntary forces of residential clustering has been vigorously debated (often theorized in terms of \'choice\' and \'constraint\'). Attention has also focused on the potential role of residential segregation in class formation and the growth of community consciousness within and between segregated neighbourhoods. As attention has turned to the structures and institutions underlying patterns of residential segregation, geographers have addressed the role of housing markets and mortgage finance in the racialization of minority groups, exploring the political links between race and residence (Smith, 1989; Cross and Keith, 1993). (See also housing class; human ecology; social area analysis; urban ecology; urban geography.) (PAJ)

References Cross, M. and Keith, M., eds, 1993: Racism, the city and the state. London: Routledge. Massey, D.S. and Denton, N. 1993: Apartheid American style. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Peach, C., ed., 1975: Urban social segregation. London: Longman. Peach, C. 1996: Does Britain have ghettos? Transactions, Institute of British Geographers NS 21: 216-35. Peach, C., Robinson, V. and Smith, S., eds, 1981: Ethnic segregation in cities. London: Croom Helm. Smith, S.J. 1989: The politics of \'race\' and residence. Cambridge: Polity Press.



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