W116
The making of "dangerous places": disentangling fear, violence and urban space

Convenors:
Rozita Dimova (Ghent University)
Stream:
Workshops
Location:
C305 (access code C1964)
Start time:
11 July, 2012 at 14:30
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

This workshop examines the spatial politics of fear in different contexts. We ask how "affective topologies" intersect with class formation, urban governmentality and spatial segregation and how particular parts of a city come to be perceived as "dangerous places".

Long abstract:

How do particular parts of a city come to be perceived as "dangerous places" to be avoided and as spaces governed by fear? What are the mechanisms that bring together space, violence and affect by making the "users of space" (Lefebvre 1992) emotionally vested in the perceptions of danger and unsafety? How do "affective topologies" intersect with class formation, urban governmentality and spatial segregation? By drawing on ethnographic cases from the Middle East, Europe and elsewhere, we want to examine the working of spatial politics of fear in different contexts. We pay special attention to the materiality of space expressed in infrastructure, architecture, street art, and presence of material objects (actively utilized by people or displayed in shopping malls), and to the ways in which materialities - big and small - both signal and reproduce urban boundaries and affective topologies. Zooming onto the "irrational" effect of materiality to promote phantasmic narratives about "the dangerous other", we explore the making of dangerous places by combining a variety of approaches such as Marxist, psycho-analytic, material culture studies, queer studies, governmentality, etc. One of the key concerns we have is the role of the state and politics in mediating the relationship between space, violence, fear and materiality. By examining this relational nexus, we will attempt to disentangle political participation of specific groups and their claims over territory, space and time.