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Title: Crime, social control and spatial constraint : a study of women's fear of sexual violence
Author: Pain, Rachel H.
ISNI:       0000 0000 7142 213X
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1994
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This thesis evaluates and advances theories of systematic violence as a social control of vulnerable sections of the population, using original research carried out in Edinburgh in 1992 into women's fear of sexual and physical attack as an illustration. Analysis centres around the notion that the spatial patterns of fear reflect and reinforce broad power relations. A wide-ranging literature review examines current understanding and identifies gaps in research and theoretical analysis. After a critique of previous research, the choice and implementation of the research methodology is justified. The findings are then presented, drawn from 389 postal questionnaires and 45 follow-up in depth interviews. The body of the thesis has two broad objectives. First, to seek greater understanding of women's fear of crime. Secondly, to integrate and extend the scope and nature of geographical, criminological and feminist theories of power relations and violence beyond simple considerations of gender. Sexual violence and harassment, and 'fear', are defined and assessed on the basis of the perceptions and experiences of the respondents. Attention is given to the extent and impact of fear in private space, the workplace and social settings as well as in public places. Various causal factors suggested by previous research are examined, including the extent of violence, social and economic factors, the built environment, formal social controls, socialisation, information sources and harassment. In contrast to criminologists' suggestions it is shown that the extent of violence against women can not explain the level and distribution of women's fear, the exception being fear of private space violence which is often shaped by experience. In contrast to geographers' claims about fear in public places, it is also demonstrated that misinformation about the location of violence is not responsible for misplaced fear. The research finds strong support for suggestions that routine harassment is instrumental in determining patterns of fear and vulnerability. Its role maintaining patterns of vulnerability and in policing identities is examined in difference places, and it is argued that space is central to interpretations of, reactions to and the effects of harassing behaviour. Existing theories are integrated and expanded throughout these discussions. The main thesis concerning women I s fear is developed to consider how other causes of social vulnerability intensify fear of crime. Patterns of fear among women of different class and age backgrounds are related to experiences of danger in different spaces. The ways in which crime socially controls other disadvantaged groups, particularly children, people with disabilities, people of colour and gay men and lesbians, are also drawn into theory. It is argued that abuse in private space is often as or more pertinent to these discussions than the usual focus, public space, and it is suggested how considerations of power relations might be broadened to reflect people I s experiences more accurately. Finally, a range of recent policies are evaluated in the light of the findings, and recommendations are made for future research, theory and practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available