Talking about fear of violence in public space: Female and male narratives about threatening situations in Umeå, Sweden
2010 (English)In: Social & cultural geography (Print), ISSN 1464-9365, E-ISSN 1470-1197, Vol. 11, no 1, 1-15 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Geographers may benefit from a narrative approach as it permits insights into both meanings and how stories are permitted and controlled by social conditions. The aim of this article is to discuss methodological aspects of studying fear as a restriction on mobility and use of public space. We have used examples from a study on fear of violence in the city of Umeå, Sweden at the time of threats from a serial rapist, the Haga Man. We employed Labov's model to analyse female and male narratives about fear. Women from all backgrounds reproduced a shared story of experiences of fear. Male stories were fragmented and diverse, especially in terms of ethnicity. The Haga Man was described in the media as a man of 'normal Swedish appearance', which put a focus on Swedish hegemonic masculinity and 'normality' rather than on commonly reproduced fear of the racialized other. Labov's model was useful in clarifying how narratives differed in their structural components and completeness, but limited in terms of how to interpret the evaluative component: the model needs to be combined with theory in order to understand relations to changing political, institutional and media discourses on crime and fear in public space.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxfordshire, UK: Routledge,Taylor & Francis Group , 2010. Vol. 11, no 1, 1-15 p.
narrative analysis, Labov, geography of fear, fear of crime, gender, urban space, Sweden
Research subject Social and Economic Geography
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-33755DOI: 10.1080/14649360903420178ISI: 000273611800001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-33755DiVA: diva2:318773