Urban symbolic violence

“Street harassment”. I like the term used in this article. It also includes the above video on gender harassment in the street. They did a kind of social experiment with a hidden camera to show how many times in a day a woman can get harassed. The video makes me think on street harassment in a wider sense, i.e. not only gender based but also social or ethnic based. Not just by making personal comments but also by staring at one or looking down. After all, and such as Bourdieu sustained “”The look is a social product that can account sociologically”. In my doctoral dissertation on a energy boomtown, many people that I interviewed, specially newcomers, used to reject the idea of being entirely harassed by long term residents. Probably because the word harassment sounds too hard for them. But, at the same time, they used to recognized having felt, at least at the beginning, a little bit uncomfortable in public spaces. They even got some problems to explain how they felt and used to state things like: “don’t know how to tell you but I could feel such distance”. I think that this concept, street or urban harassment, may apply also for this kind of situation, whenever there are a significant social or cultural distance in the streets. Immigrants, homeless or simply socially different citizens being stared or looked down in the street would be some examples. The urban harassment situation will tend to happened in highly segregated cities or regions (socio-spatially segregated). This everyday harassment is far from other more extremes forms of violence, but still shows the existence of a hidden social conflicts and lack of integration that may derive into serious violence in certain cases. I think that the Bourdieuian symbolic violence concept best represents this idea.

 

 

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