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How can ethnographies that foreground the affective and sensorial dimensions of urban space contribute to understandings of violence and (in)security in the city? This panel welcomes papers dedicated to the theoretical, methodological and political aspects of researching urban affects and sensoria.
In recent years, the social sciences and humanities have paid increased attention to the sensorial and affective dimensions of their research fields and field sites, engendering what has been phrased an 'affective turn'. For urban anthropologists and geographers, affect, emotions and the senses have served as lenses through which to investigate city dwellers' embodied experiences of urban environs and politics. This panel explores the potentialities of the affective realm, broadly understood, as an entry point into urban violence and the reactions it engenders. How can we attune our ethnographic encounters to the affective and sensorial manifestations of violence and (in)security in the city? And how can this affective attunement add to how we understand and analyse the spatial thresholds and material signifiers of urban violence? This panel is in conversation with recent literature that has explored affects and emotions in order to connect (in)security and (urban) space. Fear, for example, has long been evoked as a key element in the emergence of defensive architecture and urban design aimed at excluding dangerous 'Others'. Similarly, the notion of 'security atmosphere' (as proposed by geographer Peter Adey) has been mobilized to capture how bodies are attuned to safety as affect through the material and sensorial properties of the spaces they inhabit and move through. This panel welcomes contributions that focus on sharpening existing theoretical approaches to the questions posed above, as well as those interested in reflecting on the methodological and political implications of researching the urban through its affective and sensorial atmospheres.