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The Janus face of urban governance: State, informality and ambiguity in Berlin

Haid, Christian G.

Informality is both produced by and an inherent characteristic of state practices. It thus requires close scrutiny of the structures, nature and uneven distribution of power between state and society. Using a focus on three different parks in Berlin, this article demonstrates how informality is appropriated and institutionalized in the planning regimes of pioneer urbanism at Tempelhofer Freiheit; how in everyday law enforcement, legality is stretched by policing illegitimate activities in zones of exceptions at Görlitzer Park; and why, in Preußenpark (aka Thai Park), the state embodies a theatricality of polyvalent performances, turning a blind eye to certain activities which are not tolerated in other settings. This analysis reveals the Janus-faced governance of social practices even as it exposes the inherent ambiguities in everyday statehood, in which the state is regulating activities that are beyond its rules and, at the same time, violating its own internal rules.
Published in: Current Sociology, 10.1177/0011392116657299, SAGE Publications
  • Dieser Beitrag ist mit Zustimmung des Rechteinhabers aufgrund einer (DFG geförderten) Allianz- bzw. Nationallizenz frei zugänglich.
  • This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.