Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Law

Research Student: Ben Ellis

Being Feared: Micro dynamics of fear and insecurity in global city spaces

My research brings a new perspective to research on the fear of crime. Nearly all studies addressing the fear of crime to-date have focused on perceptions of 'otherness' thus taking the perspectives of those who deem particular groups a threat to their own safety and security.

This research instead turns to those who are perceived as threat, and to those groups that the public views as potential perpetrators of crime.

The study will focus on perceptions, emotions and ensuing actions of those who are perceived as a threat to security by others in, mostly, fleeting encounters.

It will provide an in-depth analysis of the perception of fear in interactions, how this is recognised within an encounter, how these perceptions are attributed and reacted upon and how these experiences relate to particular situations and how they are structured in ongoing life experiences.

The main aims and objectives of this study will be:

  • To understand the micro-dynamics of fear from the perspective of those who are perceived by the public and in communities as potential offenders, as ‘fearsome’ and ‘intimidating’.
  • To contextualise this understanding of fear within the local social and ethnic composition of Leeds.
  • To research into how this feeds into perceptions of identity, threat and fear and how these perceptions shape the actions of those that perceive themselves to be feared.
  • To understand how these actions and perceptions are shaped at the point of interaction as well as their long-term impacts.

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