Fear and change in the city

Ruggiero, Vincenzo (2003) Fear and change in the city. City: Analysis of Urban Trends, 7 (1). pp. 45-55. ISSN 1360-4813

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13604810302217

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Abstract

This paper calls for a reorientation of the concerns of urban sociology, and the sociology of deviance in an urban context, in a way that recognises the subjective decision-making processes at work in the representation of cities through these disciplines. The author discusses how, while early studies of the city in classical sociology identified notions of social movement - namely collective social forces with a potential to bring change - sociologists of deviance in the twentieth century severed all links with such studies and chose to describe fear, crime, and hell rather than change. Collective action and innovation were abandoned as analytical issues and the focus placed on anti-social behaviour and disorder (rather than order). Transitional hells and criminal areas became the central scene of enquiry, with the sociological gaze being diverted from more general urban conflicts. The paper develops a debate already started in this journal in Guy Baeten's piece 'Hypochondriac geographies of the city and the new urban dystopia' in City 6:1). As an alternative, Ruggiero argues, twenty-first century urban sociologists might usefully re-focus their investigation, applying conflict theory to urban studies, to stimulate more positive and pro-active debate and action.

Item Type:Article
Research Areas:School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
ID Code:9288
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Deposited On:06 Aug 2012 06:55
Last Modified:13 May 2014 14:47

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