Foundations in Human Geography - Identity, Community and Crime (Lectures 1/2)

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What is 'Social Geography'?

Definition: A subdiscipline of human geography but no clear distinction with the other subdisciplines (economic, political and cultural).

- Space and society always being made - constantly changing 

Thinking about the body:

- A boundary / means of connection?

- Natural / social - how bodies are shaped by the society in which we live?

- As a space?

- Our appearance and behaviours? Mind? - Our bodies are what people react to - they connect us but also mark us as different...

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- Identities are not fixed or stable

- Can lead to exclusion and inclusion ('others')


- Race and ethinicity

- There is visual and embodied identity - 'whites and blacks' and how they knew their own identity and the difference between each other in areas

Apartheid in South Africa:

- State regulated segregation

- Pencil test to determine classification

- Spatially reproduced --> led to further differences 

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- Impairment - Lacking, or having a defective mechanism of the body.

- Disability - The disadvantage caused by social organisation and mainstream activities. This is known as the 'medical vs. social model'.

- Those with disabilities are marginalised in many environments.

- There are diffrent embodied experieneces for sufferers and connections to other social differences / categories. 

- Chronic illness?

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- The body is a site for both self and society to inscribe identity.

- Many Social categories are not biological givens but socially constructed.

- We must not homogenise experiences or capabilities

- Identities are multiple and mutually articulated

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What is a Community?

'Communities are people who want to talk to one another' (Bryden & Watson, 1995). They may have shared characteristics?

- There are traditional ideas of community: 'Community as a social network of interacting individuals, usually concentrated in a defined territory' (Johnson et al, 2000).

- Crisis community - When a community feels under some external threat. e.g 'The Troubles', The London Riots.

-Communities may be distant, not based upon sharing a single area. e.g online communities

- Imagined communities - 'Imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know their fellow members, meet them, or even hear of them yet in the minds of each they carry the image of the community' (Anderson, 1983).

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Crime and the Built Environment

- Positive correlations between design and crime, some changes being made in design but main differences centered on residents ownership and devlopment of a community.

- There is often marginalisation of problem areas - concentration of victims and crime. This creates a fear of crime...

There is avoidance, resistance, precaution communal responses to crime. There may be fear amoung certain groups --> 'hate crime'. Crime is used as an act of marginalisation and exclusion. 

- Exclusion - 'A situation in which certain members of society are, or become, seperated from much that comprises the normal 'round' of living, and working within that society' (Philo, 2000). Leads to spatial differences...e.g 'Dalits' in Asia - Considered 'impure'.


- What is the definition of it? Many diffrent repsonses, including threatening, movement or making it hard for homeless to shelter in certain areas. 

- Rural homelessness --> isolated, 'hidden', disrupts idyll

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- There are many diffrent types of community, not just spatially bound local communities.

- Human geography analyses the social forces and structures that enable or undermine community.

- Communities are imagined through various cultural flows.

- Marginalisation and exclusion are reflected in society and space.

- A multidimensional global problem.

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