Geografie znevýhodnění


Pohyb pod dohledem / Geografie „prvaček“

Robert Osman, Jana Jíchová

The chapter deals with perceived or experienced fear in public space, studying fear from the point of view of young women who have moved their residency from smaller municipalities to study university in big cities, drawing on eight semi-structured interviews with participants studying different subjects in Prague, Brno, and Olomouc. Rather than representing this population, the paper aims to represent all possible ways in which the participants cope with what they perceive as fear and threat. Based on their spatial experience, it also enquires into a general relationship between sensations of fear and experiences with space. The empirical experience of participants shows that neither the extent of surveillance nor the extent of perceived fear are consolidated solely in space or time. The participants do not only avoid particular places or particular times, but rather particular places at particular times; in other words, particular situations. In order to reduce the degree of experienced fear, the participants use strategies based on increasing control over situations in which they find themselves or in which they could be found. In their narratives, four such strategies could be identified: handing over control, invisibilising, visibilising, and escape, which despite not being connected to particular places have profound geographical impacts. One such impact we want to highlight, and through which we want to confront the empirical experience of the participants described above with existing theories on public space, is the ability of these strategies to point to the illegitimacy of the ideal of a universal use of space—that is, the missing basis for the assumption of a universal design of public space.