This paper applies a state-theoretical perspective to a historical analysis of gentrifi cation
and urban policies in Antwerp, Belgium. Before 1970, the city experienced a period of
modernist hegemony, with urban development policies characterised by slum clearing,
peripheral high-rise social housing construction and inner-city offi ce development.
After moving through a period of non-hegemony with intense debate and struggle
about urban development, the city now appears to be experiencing another period of
hegemony in urban policy of which state support for gentrifi cation has become the
centrepiece. A historical state-theoretical approach shows how this move has been the
consequence of local institutionalisation and political confl icts following the collapse of
modernism, and provides insight into the opportunities available for critical observers
of gentrifi cation to enhance policy relevance.