Alice Butler


Project title

Tracing the history and production of territorial stigmatisation in the North of England

Project overview

This project seeks to understand the development of territorial stigmatisation from previous forms of ‘spatial smear’ to the ‘advanced marginality’ discussed by Wacquant (2008).  Working at different scales of regional and microgeographies in the North of England, this research will attempt to understand the socioeconomic and spatial characteristics that lead to a place being stigmatised by both insiders and outsiders.  In addition to tracing this process, a subsidiary component of this research will consider the management of living in a territorially stigmatised location.


  1. To critically examine the history and production of territorial stigmatisation from spatial smear to advanced marginality.
  2. To understand the role of territorial stigmatisation in the North of England.
  3. To analyse the responses and reproduction of stigma within stigmatised neighbourhoods.
  4. To provide an alternative empirical discourse to statistical surveys on marginalisation and stigma.


Research Affiliations


  • University of Leeds 110 Anniversary Research Scholarship


Butler, A., Schafran, A. and Carpenter, G. (2018). What does it mean when people call a place a shithole? Understanding a discourse of denigration in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers.


  • (2018, invited). Butler, A. 'Stereotypes, prejudice and stigma: how we talk about places and people'. IntoUniversity Staff Conference. London (UK)

  • (2018). Butler, A. “From Press Barons to Tweeps: print and media perspectives on territorial stigmatization”.  Stigma, Health and Inequality Workshop at the University of Cardiff, Cardiff (UK)

  • (2017). Butler, A and Schafran, A.B. “Complexities of the shithole: understanding what people mean and how they respond to the discourse of denigration”. Urban Space and the Body Conference at University College Cork, Cork (Ireland). 

  • (2014). Butler, A. Othering and the Wall: passive violence and nonviolent protest against the Israeli Separation Barrier. Violence against the Constructed Other, NWDTC Conference, Liverpool (UK).


  • 2013: Lancaster University Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Bursary
  • 2010: Davis Peace Project Grant
  • 2009: Summer Research Institute Grant (Hood College)
  • 2008: Second Century Grant (Hood College)
  • 2007: Hood College Honors Scholarship
  • 2013-2015: MA Politics (Distinction), Lancaster University
  • 2007-2012: BA French and Middle Eastern Studies (summa cum laude), Hood College, Frederick, Maryland, USA

Research interests

I am a PhD student in Human Geography at the University of Leeds where I am researching the formation of territorial stigma in Toxteth, Liverpool, in the British press. I also research territorial stigma and the discourse of denigration on social media platforms (see Butler et al., 2018). My general research interests are urban marginality; the stigma of poverty; space and identity; discourse, media and society; and historical urban geography.