Being feared: masculinity and race in public space

Day, K.
Environment and Planning A, 38(3): 569 – 586

Research on fear of crime typically examines the perceptions of those who fear, emphasizing women’s experiences of vulnerability in public space. In this paper, I invert this practice to examine instead men’s experiences of being feared in public spaces. Drawing on interviews with 82 male college students, I use a social constructionist approach to examine how men’s experiences of being feared interact with men’s formation of racial identities and the racialization of public places. Fear is a key mechanism for justifying and maintaining race privilege and exclusion. The experience and interpretation of being feared (or not feared) in public space intersects with men’s construction of gender and race identities, and the ways that men assign racial meanings to public places. This paper examines these processes and proposes strategies for challenging fear and the exclusion it supports.

Wagner Faculty