Re-locating Fear on the Streets: Homelessness, Victimisation and Fear of Crime

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Fear of crime has been explored from an academic perspective for some decades now within the sphere of criminology. Within this exploration, the focus has consistently been on clearly identifiable and opposing ‘actors’ cast in the roles of ‘feared’ and ‘fearing’. In this think piece, I argue that the binary format upon which fear of crime discourse has developed is inherently flawed, in that those groups who are cast in the role of ‘feared’, in this case homeless people, are denied the status of ‘fearing’, which has a significant and detrimental impact on both homeless people from a policy perspective and the academic study and understanding of fear of crime. The paper starts with an overview of traditional approaches to conceptualising fear of crime, then moves on to explore constructions of homeless people as always feared and never fearing. Drawing on victimological discourse, the paper then makes the case that a re-framing of street homeless people as fearing subjects is required. The piece closes with a call for the academic study of fear of crime to move away from its traditional binaries and embrace a new approach to locating street homeless people within fear of crime discourse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-136
JournalEuropean Journal of Homelessness
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


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