space and bilingualism in The House on Mango Street – Kuribayashi

Standard

Tomoko Kuribayashi made some really interesting comments on the use of space and language in Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street – they are really in line with some of the things that interested me about this text. Kuribayashi wrote:

“Cisneros’ narrative illuminates the linguistic, spatial and sexual oppression that racist society imposes on minority – more specifically Chicana – women, but also offers a somewhat hopeful perspective on future possibilities. Architecture is a central means by which society as well as Cisneros express and experience oppression as well as hope for change. In the beginning of Cisneros’ novel, Esperanza yearns for acquisition of cultural ideals of the white society, most specifically the white, middle-class house widely displayed in the mass media.” (p.166)

“Cisneros’ narrator, Esperanza, also wants a house just like the ones she sees on television and all her family members share her dream… Young Esperanza is keenly aware of how houses define and represent the resident’s social status; so simply having a roof over one’s head is not enough.” (p.166) However, as Kuribayashi notes “later her vision changes and she contemplates the possibility of housing the poor in her future house” (p.167)

“Owning and controlling her own space is to own her self. One cannot become oneself without having one’s own place. As Cherríe Moraga asserts, the “anti-materialist approach [that some white, middle-class feminists take] makes little sense in the lives of poor and Third World women”, when material conditions are so much a part of their oppression that coming into possession of material necessities is a must for becoming one’s own person.” (p.167)

“In The House on Mango Street, as sociocultural oppressions and future hopes are architecturally expressed, so are the female characters’ experiences of social and sexual violence inseparably linked to their spatial experiences.” (p.168) Kuribayashi’s discussion of the different ways space is inhabited, or prohibited to, the women of this text is a great read. I think the connection between space and body, as well as the point that Esperanza finally occupies another space entirely through her writing are fitting criticism of the text;

“Esperanza […] also has another vision of space outside, that is, a space that her imagination and her writing – and bilingual ability – will create for her outside and beyond the limits of her Mexican-American community and of the dominant white culture of America.” (p.169)

“Cisneros’ narrative highlights how language – and taking control of it – is a determining factor for Esperanza’s future. Taking control of language means taking control of one’s spatial experiences. The narrative of The House on Mango Street is a linguistic manifestation and product of the process in which Esperanza creates a new self and a new world. The text also testifies how she can do this through giving herself a new name and discovering a new language, without disowning the cultural background from which she comes.” (pp.169-170)

“Through the very text of The House on Mango Street the narrator moves back to her native community. The narrative is a textual documentation of the homeward movement of her body as well as of her spiritual homecoming.
The narrator’s leaving home is necessary, though, for her to find her self. Anzaldúa  says of herself, “I had to leave home so I could find myself, find my own intrinsic nature buried under the personality that had been imposed on me”. Esperanza is taking tremendous risks, and she is fortunate to be able to choose to do so, since so few of her group of people can afford it. As Anzaldúa says, “As a working class people our chief activity is to put food in our mouths, a roof over our heads and clothes on our backs”. While most women of her ethnicity have had to choose between “three directions… to the Church as a nun, to the streets as a prostitute, or to the home as a mother,” Esperanza is making the newly and sparingly available fourth choice, “entering the world by way of education and career and becoming self-autonomous persons,” or claiming a public identity.” (p.174)

Ref: (emphases in blue bold mine) Tomoko Kuribayashi “The Chicana girl writes her way in and out: space and bilingualism in Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street” pp.165-177 Eds. Tomoko Kuribayashi and Julie Ann Tharp Creating Safe Space: Violence and Women’s Writing. Albany, State University of New York Press, c1998

Advertisements

the feminist kitchen

Standard

Ksenija Bilbija sums up much of the interest in the kitchen as site of story in Laura Esquivel’s Como agua para chocolate when she wrote:

“For feminists, the kitchen has come to symbolize the world that traditionally marginalized and limited a woman. It represents a space associated with repetitive work, lacking any “real” creativity, and having no possibility for the fulfillment of women’s existential needs, individualization or self-expression.” (p.147)

[As an aside, I also found her discussion of the kitchen and the alchemist’s laboratory, especially as the two spaces might be read in Cien años de soledad, p.149-, interesting)

Ref: Ksenija Bilbija ‘Spanish American Women Writers: simmering identity over a low fire’ STCL 20(1) Winter, 1996; pp.147-165

Dracula, East and West

Standard

Proposing a method for helping students make sense of the politics behind regional geography (using popular culture), Jason Dittmer writes:

The continued survival of regional geography classes within geography curricula reflects several factors. First, despite the general disdain for regional classes by geographers who favour systematic courses (Brunt, 1995), the classes continue to have tremendous appeal for students, who still associate geography with the study of specific regions and desire intimate knowledge of a region (Halseth & Fondahl, 1998). Second, the resurgence of place in recent theoretical debates has re-established the importance of local understandings, leading to an increased need for regional specialization within the discipline. Many geographers have illustrated the importance of place and region to social theory (Pred, 1986; Gregory, 1989; Massey, 1993).
Nevertheless, these regional courses pose a dilemma. The very scope and definition of the courses is contrary to much of geography’s current body of theory because it accepts the region as an object to be studied rather than a social process, constantly in the act of reconstruction. To engage in the act of teaching a region is, to a certain extent, to endorse a certain set of boundaries and characteristics of that region. For instance, to teach a course on the Geography of Europe is to select some geographic extent for Europe, and to base [-p.50] that decision on some cultural or other criteria. Often, this is dictated to some extent by the choice of textbook, although it is always possible to add to or subtract from the scope of the text. However, the alternative to fixing the boundaries is not palatable either; the goal is not to descend into an endless deconstruction of the metageography of place….” (pp.49-50)

How, then, do we give life to these theoretical and abstract thoughts in the classroom? How can we teach regional geography while still emphasizing the economic and political motivations behind the regions we discuss? The key is to provide the material and discursive bases through which regions are constructed, allowing the class to witness the process of region and identity construction that is so critical to the new regional geography (Warf, 1990; Paasi, 1996).” (p.50)

“…it is important to discuss the processes by which regions are produced as dominant constructions of reality.
In my Geography of Europe class I accomplished this by connecting the metageography of Europe to popular culture in a way that can be replicated elsewhere. In particular, I used the novel Dracula (1897) by Bram Stoker as a lens through which to discuss the social construction of Eastern Europe. To do this, the class viewed Francis Ford Coppola’s movie Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992). The movie differs from the book in a few plot points (notably, it includes a back-story for Dracula and a love story between the Count and Mina Murray) but is useful for class discussion because the students connect to the medium perhaps better than to a novel written in 1897 and also because Coppola uses dramatic [-p.51] visual clues to help constitute the difference between Eastern and Western Europe. Following the viewing, a discussion ensued in which the instructor’s role was to provide a summary of the geographic literature on the construction of Eastern Europe as well as a geographic interpretation of the novel. This paper begins with a history of the division of Europe between East and West, highlighting the role of travel literature and other writings in the development of an informal system of regions. Furthermore, the political and economic incentives and consequences for the perpetuation of these regions are discussed. In the next section, a geographic interpretation of Dracula is outlined, identical to the one used in the classroom discussion. This geographic interpretation outlines the dichotomies used to portray the fundamental differences between East and West. Finally, survey and test data are used to assess the success of this lesson in teaching students about the social construction of regions.” (pp.50-51)

Larry Wolff (1994) attributes the construction of an Eastern Europe that is separate from the civilized portions of Western Europe to Enlightenment philosophers (in particular, Voltaire and Rousseau) who perpetuated and mythologized each other’s accounts of a backward and barbaric homogenous region (despite some of these writers never actually
going there). For example, Voltaire’s History of Charles XII (1731) was critical in mapping Eastern Europe in the popular imagination by describing Charles’s march through Eastern Europe. This book was written in the first person and instilled a fantasy-filled image of Eastern Europe that later travellers would take with them, inserting a lens of preconceptions in their imagination. We know that the book was influential because it had several printings and translations, and its effect was far-reaching and long lasting.” (p.51)

“In addition to this representation from philosophers who may or may not actually have
been to Eastern Europe there were similar depictions available to the public from completely fictional travellers, such as those of Baron Munchausen (Wolff, 1994). While
there was a real Baron Munchausen who did travel through Eastern Europe, the stories
published about his namesake were tall tales written by Rudolf Raspe (1785) that portrayed Eastern Europe as a ridiculous and fantastic place. This representation became fashionable just as travel to the region increased…. At the same time, Southwest Asia and East Asia received a much more romantic image, perhaps because of its inaccessibility for most Europeans. The connection between inaccessibility and romance is reiterated by Goldsworthy (1998, p. 75), who notes: “the Gothic plot [as of Dracula] requires a setting which is sufficiently close to the reader to appear threatening, while nevertheless being alien enough to house all the exotic paraphernalia—the castles, the convents, the caverns, the dark forests at midnight, the mysterious villains and the howling specters”.” (p.51)

In Dracula, as in other literature of the time, Western Europe and Eastern Europe are portrayed as opposing spaces, which together embody a series of dichotomous relationships. As mentioned previously, this process of othering was enabled by Western [-p.55] Europe’s hegemonic economic and cultural power. Senf (1998, pp. 24, 37) alludes to some of these dichotomies, but the importance of them to the constitution of Eastern Europe is not fully recognized. The first of these dichotomies is Western Europe’s civilization versus Eastern Europe’s barbarism. This opposition is one of historic importance, as ‘civilization’ is a value-laden word that originally meant simply a settled, non-nomadic existence (Davies, 1996) but has since come to be associated with good manners, ethical decision-making, distinguished culture and other normative goods. Barbarian, in its original formulation (by the ancient Greeks—see McNeill, 1997), simply meant one who does not speak Greek, but has since become associated with all that is uncivilized: poor hygiene and appearance, cruelty to enemies, a lack of distinguished culture and a lack of attachment to place. This normative geography is inscribed in Dracula’s text, as Transylvania and the Count himself are both portrayed as barbarian. For instance, Jonathan Harker writes this in his journal on the way to Transylvania (Stoker, 1897, p. 3): [‘]The strangest figures we saw were the Slovaks, who were more barbarian than the rest, with their big cow-boy hats, great baggy dirty-white trousers, white linen shirts, and enormous heavy leather belts, nearly a foot wide, all studded over with brass nails. . .. On the stage they would be set down at once as some old Oriental band of brigands.[‘]” (pp.54-55)

Dracula partakes in a longstanding tradition of representing Eastern Europe as a place of sexualized violence.” (p.56)

“In a similar manner to the distinction made between Western mind and Eastern body, Stoker’s novel maintains a historical distinction between Western science and Eastern magic.” (p.56)

“That Eastern Europe is a place of fantasy and magic is a long-held truism in travel literature. This is a fundamental theme of Baron Munchausen’s travelogue. (p.57)

“Eastern Europe is portrayed as a place eternally of the past, with London (and all of Western Europe) portrayed as the dynamic source of change and innovation.” (p.57)

Dracula must be seen in its full literary and historical context. The Count must be
from Eastern Europe for the story to have its maximum cultural resonance; the story is as horrifying as it is because Dracula is this emblem of Eastern European danger threatening the West.
Dracula is not the only novel to take advantage of this geographic imaginary— Goldsworthy (1998, p. 76) notes that: “Typically, because of the need for a dichotomy between the familiar and the exotic, Gothic locations are on the edges of a particular geographical area, in its remote corners and on its borderlands.” Indeed, the entire Gothic genre helped construct difference between Eastern and Western Europe, even if that was never its specific intention. Stoker wrote the novel for the same reasons as most authors: to profit. Therefore, he exploited the already-existent division of Europe as the geographic framework of his novel, and through that hugely successful novel he inadvertently perpetuated that division, perhaps contributing more to it than any previous author or philosopher. The success of Dracula and books like it has vast political and cultural ramifications, as that success helps to structure the geographic imagination of its many millions of readers.” (p.58)

Dracula is particularly important within the genre because of its literary longevity and its role as the inspiration for an entire genre of books and movies, as well as a sub-culture, each of which reconstructs the division of Europe into east and west and makes it more of a taken-for-granted fact of life.” (p.58)

Ref: (italics in original; emphases in blue bold, mine) Jason Dittmer (2006): Teaching the Social Construction of Regions in Regional Geography Courses; or, Why Do Vampires Come from Eastern Europe?, Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 30:1, 49-61

ABSTRACT “This article describes the difficulty of teaching about the construction of regions in regional geography courses, which are themselves built on a metageography that often goes unquestioned. The author advocates the use of popular culture to make this very complex issue palpable for undergraduates. Thus, the construction of Eastern Europe within a larger European framework is clear through a study of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the movies that the book has spawned. Included in this article is an analysis of the geography presented through the Dracula narrative, and the contents of the classroom experience created by the author to teach that analysis. The article concludes with survey data that illustrate the reaction of the students to the lesson as well as evidence that the lesson improved student learning.”

how everyday emotions are being transformed by post 9/11 measures and terror talk

Standard

According to Setha M. Low (writing from the USA 5 years ago): “We are enmeshed in a historical period when fear and anxiety are being manipulated to produce unhealthy political ends. The consequences of this social atmosphere are not just political, but produce increasing fears in children and an obsession with safety and security that is claiming ground and appropriating feelings even within the ultimate retreat – home.” (p.62)

Since September 11, 2001, the Bush administration has mobilized a discourse of insecurity to create a psychological environment that allows the constriction of liberty in the USA, while continuing an unpopular war in Iraq.” (p.47)

She goes on to say that “political manipulation of terrorism and threat from outside is inscribing a new structure of feeling based on fear, and re-inscribing the paranoia of the Cold War period to further militaristic and imperialist aims. / This fear and insecurity discourse is becoming equally salient in Western Europe, in the form of a war against terrorism and discrimination against Muslim immigrant populations. These repressive actions have been justified by the well-publicized terrorist attacks in London and Madrid, while France has experienced widespread riots in the immigrant suburbs of Paris, based on anti-Muslim sentiment.” (p.47)

“One [-p.48] response to this production of insecurity,” Low writes, “has been increased surveillance and policing, as well as residential fortification, including the building of gated communities. Even though gating predates this period of homeland security and terrorist threat, it symbolically and materially accommodates these fears and provides a superficial sense of protection.
Catherine Lutz and Geoffrey White argue that the months of terror post-9/11 generated a tremendous overload of emotion and that this emotion has been ‘‘learned, half-learned, resisted, reformulated or ignored’’ by intense cultural tutoring that shapes how we make sense of what we feel (Lutz & White 2002:6). They conceptualize the emotions and the practices they represent as ‘‘emotive institutions’’, illustrating how media discursive practices evoke and reform emotions through television war news.
These emotive institutions are one component of the production of a new structure of feeling expressed in a variety of material and discursive forms including architecture and urban planning. Neoliberal practices of the shrinking state and the re-inscription of responsibility on individuals and communities are the second component in this process. Individuals and communities in cities are encouraged to protect themselves from perceived threats, thus contributing to the emergence of a new pattern of civic militancy even at home.” (pp.47-48)

“In this article,” Low explains, “I outline my concerns [about how everyday emotions are being transformed by post-9/11 measures and terror talk and how they are infiltrating the most private of spatial domains, that of home] and provide ethnographic illustrations from gated communities on how new emotive institutions are emerging and transforming the domestic emotional climate.” (p.48)

Low presents a very interesting discussion of how our concept of (and relationship with) the ‘home’ has developed in recent centuries (pp.48-50). She also presents a history of gated communities in the USA along with an ethnographic study of gated communities in New York and Texas (pp.50-61).

According to Low: “The gated community is a response to transformations in the political economy of late-20th century urban America. The increasing mobility of capital, marginalization of the labour force, and dismantling of the welfare state began with the change in labour practices and deindustrialization of the 1970s, and accelerated with the ‘‘Reaganomics’’ of the 1980s.” (p.51)

Walls can provide a refuge from people who are deviant or unusual, but this necessitates patrolling the border to make sure no-one gets in. The resulting vigilance necessary to maintain these ‘‘purified communities’’ actually heightens residents’ anxiety and sense of isolation, rather than making them feel safer (Flusty 1997). In some cases, the micro-politics of exclusion is about distinguishing oneself from the family who used to live next door. Status anxiety about downward mobility due to declining male wages and family incomes, shrinking job markets, and periodic economic recessions has increased concern that children will not be able to sustain a middle-class lifestyle. Middle-class status anxiety also takes the form of symbolic separation from other families who have fallen on hard times, families who share many of the same values and aspirations, but who for some reason ‘‘did not make it’’. The ‘‘exclusivity’’ and ‘‘status’’ advertised by new gated communities is being marketed to an already anxious audience created by the economic turbulence of the 1980s. Assurances that walls and gates maintain home values and provide some kind of ‘‘class’’ or ‘‘distinction’’ is heard by prospective buyers as a partial solution to upholding their middle- or upper middle-class position. / Crime and the fear of crime also have been connected to the design of the built environment.” (p.53)

Most gated community residents say that they are moving because of their fear of crime, but what residents are expressing is a pervading sense of insecurity with life in the USA. Policing, video surveillance, gating, walls and guards do not work because they do not address the basis of what is an emotional reaction. An ever-growing proportion of people fear that they will be victimized. Not surprisingly, then, fear of crime has increased since the mid-1960s, even though there has been a decline in all violent crime since 1990 (Brennan & Zelinka 1997, Flusty 1997, Stone 1996). It is not an entirely new sense of insecurity, but comes from increasing globalization, declining economic conditions and economic restructuring, the retreat of the state from social reproduction and the overall insecurity of capitalism. 9/11 and Homeland Security combined with neoliberal practices that have shifted the responsibility for security to individuals and communities have exacerbated it.” (p.56)

“Compared with most large cities, suburbs do not have many public places were strangers intermingle, and the relative isolation and homogeneity of the suburbs discourages interaction with people who are identified as the ‘‘other’’.” (p.56)

“Barry Glassner (1999) argues that news reporting capitalizes on our greatest fears proposing that it is easier to worry about ‘‘Mexicans’’ or ‘‘workers’’ – focusing on symbolic substitutes – rather than face our moral insecurities and more systematic social problems. The bombing of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 has [-p.60] added to this discursive repertoire of fear and insecurity for New York residents.” (pp.59-60)

West and Orr (2005) [found] ‘‘The more people talked about 9/11, the more worried they became about becoming a victim’’ (West & Orr 2005:99). Defensive behaviour of not going downtown and staying home, encouraging increased home surveillance (Low 2003), and hiring professional security guards (West & Orr 2005) as well as building home based safe rooms and keeping two weeks of supplies on hand in a safe place, have emerged as common home behaviours with negative– fearful and anxious–emotional reactions. 9/11 has had an impact on people not only in New York City but also along the entire Northeast corridor, and in other large cities like Los Angeles.
Whether it is black salesmen, errant workers or fear of a terrorist attack, the message is the same: residents are using walls, gates and guards to keep perceived dangers outside of their homes and neighbourhoods. Contact with others and symbolic substitutes or explanations for their sense of insecurity incites palpable fear and real concern, and in response they are moving to secured residential developments where they can keep other people out. The perceived threats of crime, other people, a porous neighbourhood that is easily entered, and terrorist attacks engender a defensive emotional climate within which residents attempt to create safe and comfortable homes. But the reactive emotions of home – fear, insecurity, worry, paranoia and anxiety – dominate their conversations.” (p.61)

“…fear of others and an emotional shift in the local environment play significant roles in the transformation of how residents feel about their home places.” (p.61) “These reactive emotions, however, are not independent of the historical moment in which they occur and are sustained by a social and political context of fear and distrust.” (p.62)

“A new structure of feeling promoted by the Bush administration is creating a citizenry more concerned with protecting their homes than with protecting social and political freedom.” (p.62)

Ref: (emphases in blue bold, mine) Setha M. Low (2008): Fortification of Residential Neighbourhoods and the New Emotions of Home, Housing, Theory and Society, 25:1, 47-65

ABSTRACT Research on the fortification of residential environments and the spatial production of ‘‘security’’ within gated communities has lead to a broader understanding of how everyday emotions are being transformed by post 9/11 measures and terror talk. A new structure of feeling is infiltrating the most private of spatial domains, that of home, and further rationalizes and legitimates the practices of social exclusion, fortification, and racialization of space that mark current sociospatial politics. This article presents ethnographic illustrations from gated communities in New York and San Antonio, Texas, of how new emotive institutions are emerging and transforming the domestic emotional climate.

Reference is to: Lutz, C. & White, G. (2002) Emotions, war and cable News, Anthropology News, February, pp. 6–7.

the fear of crime as a phenomenon shaping the life of cities

Standard

Over a decade ago (and, perhaps significantly(?), before 9/11), Rachel Pain reviewed the literature on “fear of crime as a phenomenon shaping the life of cities” (p.899), focusing on  “debates on race, age, gender and fear in the city, as these are the social identities which have received most attention.” (p.899). She wrote:

Much thinking about social identity and fear of crime has tended to be dichotomised. … For example, different groups of young people are widely constructed either as threatening, or threatened; there are powerful discourses which position people of colour as offenders or victims; and in much of the literature men are viewed as fearless but fear-provoking, and women as fearful and passive. Such dualisms reflect a wider criminological fallacy that certain groups commit crime and other are victims of it (except for people in low-income areas who are widely viewed as involved in both). Recent research is pointing to the diversity and complexity of issues around social identity and fear; so that although theoretical frameworks can and should be developed (one which emphasises social exclusion is applied in this paper), the currency of stereotypes and even the usefulness of gender, race and age as social categories need to be critically appraised and the intersections between different identities in their relationships to crime and fear require further explorationAnother set of dualisms which the geographical literature has begun to problematise is around the spaces and places in which fear is situated—for example, public versus private, safe versus dangerous, low-income estates versus suburbs—and the ways in which people negotiate them. In fact, most discussions of fear in the city deal only with public spaces which are shared with strangers. As recent research has shown, crimes such as domestic violence, acquaintance violence and elder abuse also have a role to play in the construction of fear. This paper includes in its scope homes, workspaces and other private and semiprivate places, which are as much a part of ‘the urban’ as streets, shopping malls and parks. While many people strongly associate fear with speciŽfic places, reflecting wider [-p.900] ideologies of public space as dangerous and private space as safe, fear and safety in different spaces are interconnected—for example, experiences of danger in private space affect feelings of security in public at an individual and societal level.” (pp.899-900)

For the purposes of this paper, Pain defines ‘fear of crime as “as the wide range of emotional and practical responses to crime and disorder made by individuals and communities.” (p.901)

Fear of crime can be considered to create and reinforce exclusion from social life and from particular urban spaces in a number of ways [which she goes on to discuss ].” (p.902)

“Almost every survey of fear of crime Ž finds that women report being more fearful of crime than men. Whether in the home, the workplace or the city, it is fear of sexual violence and harassment from men which underpins women’s higher fear (Gordon and Riger, 1989; Valentine, 1989). Feminists have viewed women’s higher fear of crime as a manifestation of gender oppression and a damaging form of control of women’s lives, reproducing traditional notions about women’s ‘place’ in society (Hanmer and Saunders, 1984; Pain, 1991; Valentine, 1989).” (p.903) “However, there are some conflicts between theoretical development and empirical evidence around women’s fear of urban spaces […and it has been suggested] that men’s fear may be considerably higher than previously thought….” (p.903)

“Much relevant research on women’s fear has revolved around two key paradoxes. / The Ž first and earliest is the paradox between levels of fear and violence discussed in the introduction—when women’s high fear of crime was Žfirst discovered, it appeared far greater than their actual risks of victimisation….” (p.903) “A second paradox has been identiŽfied and explored by geographers—most research shows a mismatch between the types of location in which physical and sexual violence usually occur (private space) and the locations in which most women fear (public spaces), calling into question the idea that levels of victimisation can explain fear alone. To resolve this spatial paradox, feminists have argued that women are misinformed about the main location of danger, through the institutions of the family, the education system and the media (Hanmer and Saunders, 1984; Valentine, 1989). More recent research has indicated that misinformation does underlie fear in public space; most women are aware that domestic violence is more common than stranger attacks, but this knowledge has little effect on their fear of crime unless they have personal experience of domestic violence (Pawson and Banks, 1993; Pain, 1997).” (p.903)

“…feminist writers such as Wilson (1991) have emphasised that the city is frequently a place of excitement and opportunity for women, not just a place to be feared. City centre spaces at once have varying meanings to different people (Pain and Townshend, forthcoming). / Different notions of femininity are also entwined with different constructions of the fear of crime. For example, some have suggested that the emphasis on ‘fear’ and its negative consequences in writing about women and crime reproduces notions about feminine weakness (Segal, 1990).” (p.904) [I couldn’t help thinking about the typical kick-ass female protagonist of much (recent!) urban fantasy here…]

“Koskela’s (1997) analysis of women’s fear of attack in Finland emphasises that women respond to the threat of crime with ‘boldness’ as well as fear and ‘spatial conŽfidence’ as well as spatial avoidance.” (p.904)

Meanwhile, “In direct contrast to women, men’s low reported fear of crime appeared anomalous from the earliest crime surveys because they experienced relatively high rates of violence. Aggregate data suggest that men are largely at risk from strangers and acquaintances in public places including streets, pubs and clubs, but there is also a risk from partners in the home.” (p.905)

Where men have been the subject of qualitative research, this has suggested that, at least for some, the effects of fear may be just as great as for women (Gilchrist et al., 1998; Stanko and Hobdell, 1993). Gilchrist et al. (1998) examine the cases of fearful men and fearless women in order to demonstrate that fear and boldness, although they may be gendered, are not essentially female or male qualities.” (p.905)

“…it is inappropriate to deal with race, gender, age and other social identities simply as descriptive categories in analysis of the fear of crime. Rather, in each case, fear of crime (and the crimes feared) are often structured by age, race and gender, as this paper has outlined. When gender, age and race are viewed as social relations which are based upon unequal distributions of power, they begin to explain who is most affected by fear, and where.” (p.910)

Ref: (emphases in blue bold, mine) Rachel Pain (2001) Gender, Race, Age and Fear in the City Urban Studies, Vol. 38, Nos 5–6, 899–913