Nothing to fear but fear itself?

Liquid provocations for new media and fear of crime

Authored by: Jamie K. Wardman

The Routledge International Handbook on Fear of Crime

Print publication date:  December  2017
Online publication date:  December  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138120334
eBook ISBN: 9781315651781
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter seeks to offer a timely assessment of developments at the intersection between new media and fear of crime. The chapter is prompted by a growing need to begin to bring some clarity and coherence to understandings and explanations of current technological advances and emerging trends in new media, and to highlight the importance of these developments for fear of crime inquiry. Particularly, it is suggested that fear of crime is in the midst of a ‘digital turn’, which is generating widespread activity and interest, and warrants further recognition and critical attention to understand the operation and implications of these developments. Addressing these issues, the chapter is organized around the central provocation that intersections between new media and fear of crime may be best characterized following Zygmunt Bauman as a facet of ‘liquid modernity’. The chapter accordingly deploys the concept of ‘liquidity’ as an overarching analytic to elaborate considerations of the heterogeneous and fluid nature of the contemporary techno-social dynamics, contours, and processes, that are seen to be key to the shaping of new media and fear of crime relations. This ‘liquid provocation’ is intended to emphasize the fundamental shift in how fear of crime is contemporarily experienced, expressed, and remediated, both with respect to technological advances and the emergence of new media cultures. By this, it is hoped to draw attention to the scope and scale of the problems, opportunities and research challenges newly posed by these important changes to the diverging dynamics and context in which people make sense of and emotionally respond to issues surrounding victimization, policing and criminal justice.

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