Fear, apprehension and urban space
The lecture will outline some theories of anxiety in contemporary urban spaces from anthropology, architecture and other disciplines. It will suggest that long-term inhabitants have different experiences of the city from recent rural migrants. Whereas for the former memories and histories of events frame apprehensions of what might happen in particular places, for incomers there is a more immediate contemporaneous and 'horizontal' scanning of potential dangers. Using ethnography from the shanty town surrounding Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) it will be shown that moving to the city involves shifting the perception of omens to new arrays of worrying signs glimpsed anywhere in the streets. The lecture will attempt to relate these different registers of anxiety both to existing cityscapes and the to the emergence of new global and somehow uncanny forms of 'private space'.
Prof. Caroline Humphrey, University of Cambridge