Sensory criminology, social identities and public space: encounters with pedestrian underpasses in Newcastle upon Tyne

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This article utilises and adapts the concept of sensory criminology to explore people’s sensory and emotional encounters with pedestrian underpasses in Newcastle upon Tyne. It addresses an oversight within the wider literatures on sensory, visual and aesthetic criminology by considering the relationship between social identities, the senses and emotions. Here, the article focuses on the intersecting role of gender and age within sensory and emotional encounters. Drawing on data gathered from an online survey, semi-structured interviews and archives, the article demonstrates that the different senses are entangled, aged, gendered, and integral to encounters with pedestrian underpasses. In particular, our findings show that fear is a recurring emotion expressed by many people who use or avoid pedestrian underpasses. Stationary and congregating young men are shown to be the most cited object of fear, and this fear is felt disproportionately by younger women – many of whom engage in visual and audio forms of ‘safety work’ when navigating these subterranean public spaces.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCriminological Encounters
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 9 Sept 2023

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