El Raval is the district with the highest volume of immigrant
population in Barcelona, but the growing presence of a new wealthy and middle
class is contributing to social changes that conceal new forms of exclusion for
those who have lived a lifetime in the area.
An investigation carried out over ten months between 2006 and
2007 by the University of Barcelona shows that some trendy bars in El Raval use
the right of admission to refuse entry to immigrants - mostly Moroccans and
Algerians. The study gives an account of the techniques used to filter customers
to maintain an exclusive clientele of young people between 25 and 35 years of
age, rich, middle class Spanish or foreigners and university students. Refusing
access to the public on grounds of race or place of birth is illegal.
Among the most common exclusion strategies is the performance
of doorkeepers who select customers before entering the bar or simply close the
doors and request payment for entry when in fact it is free. In other cases,
customers can be refused entry for inadequate clothing, or informed that the
establishment is closed because it is holding a private party. There are also
situations where an immigrant enters the bar but once inside, is the subject of
extreme vigilance in order to identify reasons for refusing admission.