CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

Slum clearance and relocation policies have been implemented since the early 1960s in Madrid. Since 1999 in particular, thousands of families have been relocated in public housing. Yet, more than 10,000 people were still living in slums in 2015. This persistence, far from being the result of a public policy failure, stems from the combination of several government stakeholders who set strategies at different scales and put in place various procedures. Among these procedures, expulsion is the pillar around which rehousing of families and the management of public order are organized. But expulsion can take many faces. Well beyond police interventions or waves of expulsion for economic purposes, there are more discreet evictions in the implementation of selective relocation instruments. Moreover, the expulsion is also done by public inaction: whole sections of territories are put away from the governmental agenda to form reserves of informality able to regulate the effects of evacuations carried out elsewhere. Through an analysis of the relationships between the actors, their strategies and the mobilized instruments, the article identifies the processes producing expulsion and their effects on populations and territories. Relocation policies (and more broadly welfare policies) produce expulsion as much as expulsion procedures, however diverse, and seem to be the basis of any relocation policy. This analysis of the three sides of slum government — relocation, inaction, expulsion — explains their persistence.


  • Public Policies
  • Governance
  • Slums
  • Rehousing and Clearance Policies
  • Expulsion
  • Eviction
  • Instruments
  • Street Level Bureaucrats
  • Madrid
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