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Politicizing fear of crime and insecurity in Caracas

Abstract : Caracas is one of the most dangerous cities in the world, and insecurity is among the core concerns of Venezuelans. Urban insecurity shapes the anxious meta-narrative of an urbanity in crisis. The Caracazo (uprising that caused hundreds of deaths in 1989 in Caracas) defines a critical turn in the experiencing of urban fears, at least among middle-class sectors: the myth of an inclusive-urbanity-in-a-democratic-society breaks up when traditionally excluded people burst into the formal city. Former social framing and State-society ties are undermined in a time of crisis. The growing fear of insecurity triggers off socio-spatial transformations which are actually socially and racially driven. This paper aims at politicizing fear of crime and insecurity in Caracas by "situating" it, and by underlying its performativity. As a socially-contingent category, fear can be instrumentalized in different ways. It appears that fear of crime and insecurity contributes to consolidate, more than create, urban territorialities grounded on classism and racism. The hegemonic narrative of fear is powerful - and legitimate - enough not to address root drivers of fragmenting dynamics, as a technology of control. Nevertheless, the unexpected implications that current fear of crime might bring are challenging an unequal socio-spatial order, sign of contested supremacies.
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Contributor : Julien Rebotier <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - 7:47:40 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, February 3, 2021 - 4:34:03 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Monday, May 23, 2011 - 3:30:47 AM


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Julien Rebotier. Politicizing fear of crime and insecurity in Caracas. Emotion, Space and Society, Elsevier, 2011, 4 (2), pp.104-112. ⟨10.1016/j.emospa.2010.12.003⟩. ⟨halshs-00568211⟩



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