nl en

Urban Inequalities


This course can be followed as part of the BA specialisation “Development in Place”
(onderdeel BA Culturele Antropologie en Ontwikkelingssociologie)

Admission requirements

Only the following categories of students can register for this course:

  • Students enrolled for the BA programme “Culturele antropologie en ontwikkelingssociologie” at Leiden University who have passed the Propedeuse

  • Exchange and Study Abroad students

Please see below a description of the registration procedure.


The objective of this course is to gain insight into the way in which urban inequalities emerge and are transformed through specific social, cultural and spatial structures and processes in cities throughout the world. This will be done first of all by placing different types of cities in the global context within the dynamics of North-South relations and also within each of these regions. How are factors such as: the urban demographic composition, the built environment, employment structures and life styles affected by these global connections but at the same time by local historical specificities? How are inequalities created, transformed and responded to and what is the role of ethnicity, class, gender and religion in shaping these inequalities? How do different types of cities (e.g. global city, industrial city, harbour city, small towns) produce different compositions of people and places? We will look at how urban spaces are shaped by but also help shape social inequalities. We will also look at the role of the state and civil society or social movements in contributing to the construction of these urban spaces. A deeper understanding of these processes cannot be properly obtained without also an examination of the micro-processes of social relations. This will be done through studying social networks, community life, popular cultures, processes of inclusion and exclusion in urban neighbourhoods, either within the gated communities or the urban slums.
Lectures and discussion groups will involve a combination of theoretical insights and empirical knowledge. Assignments will involve the writing of short essays based on selected literature; observation of the uses of urban space; and class presentations.

Keywords: social inequalities; urban segregation; urbanization; space and place; gated communites; slums; social networks; popular cultures.

Course objectives

Students who follow this course will develop:

  • a firm foundation in the anthropology and sociology of urban studies

  • academic skills necessary to analyze processes operating at global and local levels that affect different groups of the urban population.

  • knowledge to connect issues that are politically relevant and urgent in the current world situation with local day-to-day events.


Thursdays 10-13 h, between February 3 and May 19, 2011 (starting date wil be announced)
Room 1A15, Pieter de la Court Building (Faculty of Social Sciences)

Mode of instruction

Total 10 ECTS = 280 study hours (sbu)

  • Lectures 12 × 2 hours (36 sbu)

  • Group discussions 12 × 1 h (24 sbu)

  • Study of literature 675 pp (112 sbu)

  • Bi-weekly assignments (32 sbu)

  • Final paper 6 pp = 3600 words (48 sbu)

Assessment method

  • Bi-weekly assignments

  • Final paper 6 pp

  • Presence at lectures and group discussions (min. 10 out of 12)


Blackboard module will be active from mid January 2011.
Students who have been granted admission must register for this course on Blackboard.

Reading list



  • Studenten CA-OS: inschrijving mogelijk via het secretariaat CA-OS, kamer 3A19, tel. 5273469, e-mail:, tussen 1 december 2010 en 15 januari 2011.

  • Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply for the exchange programme

Contact Infromation

Dr. Ratna Saptari:, tel 071-527 3472, room 3A33 (Pieter de la Court building)