Towards a criminology of atmospheres: law, affect and the codes of the street

Fraser, A. and Matthews, D. (2021) Towards a criminology of atmospheres: law, affect and the codes of the street. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 21(4), pp. 455-471. (doi: 10.1177/1748895819874853)

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The street has a long and distinguished pedigree in criminology as a site of human sociability, transgression and spontaneity. Recent scholarship in legal studies has, however, explored the role that non-human actors play in the normative ordering of urban life. These interventions suggest the need for criminologists of the street to take seriously not only the experiential foreground of crime but also its background. In this article, we seek to bring these traditions into dialogue through engagement with the concept of ‘atmosphere’ – a place-based mood or spatialised feeling that blends human and non-human elements, and has the capacity to act in a quasi-agentic manner. Drawing on an experiment in ‘atmospheric methods’ conducted during Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Umbrella Movement, in which some of the city’s central streets were occupied for 79 days, we seek to demonstrate that the analytics of ‘atmosphere’ offers a unique conceptual approach to urban life and street crime in the contemporary age.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Matthews, Mr Daniel and Fraser, Professor Alistair
Authors: Fraser, A., and Matthews, D.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Criminology and Criminal Justice
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1748-8966
Published Online:11 September 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in Criminology and Criminal Justice 21(4): 455-471
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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