The objective of this paper is to describe the key components that, according to John Gerring (2006), make a relevant and adequate use of case studies. The article chosen for this task is placed within the discussion of how place marketing, fostered by neoliberal policy implementation, affects the life of local residents in ethnic enclaves, which are transformed into leisure and tourist zones.
We have to consider that by the time this article was published, the concept of ethnospaces, their transformation and policy-impact studies were still at a novel stage. With the aid of two longitudinal case studies of multi-ethnic districts in London, the authors offered a hypothesis generating insight, with particular attention in explaining the possible additional (independent) factors (X2), along with policy implementation programmes (X1), whose variations causes the detriment of the living conditions of immigrants in the “renovated” ethnic enclaves (Y). In other words, this is an exploratory research that assumes the affections over the living conditions in multicultural neighbourhoods as a causal outcome (Y), hoping to explain the way in which policy implementation plus other factors generate such conditions (X1 / X2). As Gerring (2006) would define, this is an X centred research.
Describing a causal assumption: The case studies of East London: `Banglatown´in Brick Lane, Spitafields, and Asian fashions in Green Streets, West Ham.
The article’s main argument relies on assessing the poor understanding of the consequences of urban economic stimulation and/or intervention programmes in ethnic districts, making it difficult to evaluate long-term social impacts of the local residents (Shaw et.al, 2004, p. 1989).
The authors argue that, in the context of neoliberalism and its influence, policy and urban renovation financial strategies, seeking for an increase of the commercial activity of inner-city zones (X1), tend to generate a long-term decrease in the quality of life of the local ethnic residents, especially affecting those who already lived in less benefited conditions before these interventions took place (Y). However, the multiple factors that lead to such outcome do not only depend on policy and financial strategies themselves but also to how these are embodied by the target urban locations (X2). That is, to correctly understand the consequences of such strategies, the researches seek to observe how the social and environmental conditions of these “renovated” districts have dramatically shifted, in exchange for having commercially active and frequented leisure sites for the dominant (western) culture.
As I can first suppose, the ideal case study would have implied a dynamic comparison; a case study with control over the spatial and temporal variations in order to explain in details the hypothesized causal outcome. However, as Gerring (2006) states, such scenario is not only “problematic” but also an uncommon thing to happen due...