The term ghetto has increasingly taken an emotional connotation that focalizes the pro-file of a real exceptionality and social morbidity. Starting from a short review of the long sociological tradition, an introductory reflection is proposed aimed at analyzing the evoca-tive nature associated to the ghetto. It reveals its rhetorical and stigmatizing potential. Fur-thermore, the ghetto in its urban and/or rural articulation highlights the result of policies of exclusion, as identified by North American sociological literature.
Keywords: Ghetto, urban segregation, stigmatization, ethnic minorities, United States, Italy