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gatekeeping The hierarchical structure of formal organizations places certain individuals or groups in crucial positions from which they can control access to goods, services, or information. They therefore wield power far in excess of their formal authority. Sociologists have examined this phenomenon in numerous contexts. One example is provided by the urban managerialist perspective on the city, a label applied to a number of studies in the 1960s and 1970s, all of which made the broad claim that ‘urban managers’ (such as planners and local government officials) played a crucial role as gatekeepers in controlling access to urban resources (housing, land, permissions to build, and so forth).

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gate·keep·ing / ˈgātˌkēping/ • n. 1. the activity of controlling, and usually limiting, general access to something: Wal-Mart's cultural gatekeeping has served to narrow the mainstream for entertainment offerings.2. Comput. a function or system that controls access or operations to files, computers, networks, or the like: a gatekeeping mechanism that allows reads under some circumstances and blocks them under others.