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A(nother) geography of fear: Burmese labour migrants in George Town, Malaysia

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Anja K. Franck
Publicerad i Urban Studies
Volym 53
Nummer/häfte 15
Sidor 3206-3222
ISSN 0042-0980
Publiceringsår 2016
Publicerad vid Institutionen för globala studier
Sidor 3206-3222
Språk en
Länkar dx.doi.org/10.1177/0042098015613003
Ämnesord fear, Malaysia, migration, non-citizenship, urban space
Ämneskategorier Social och ekonomisk geografi, Internationell Migration och Etniska Relationer (IMER)


While scholarship around urban fear has brought forward important insights around the relationship between fear, mobility and social exclusion, questions relating to legal exclusion have largely been left outside the scope of inquiry. In cities around the world there are, however, a growing number of people who are not only de facto excluded from rights to/within the city (based on their gender, class, age etc.) – but de jure excluded based on their non-citizen or ‘illegal’ status in the host country. Drawing upon field work conducted in the Malaysian city George Town this study examines how both regular and irregular Burmese migrants perceive safety and danger in the city and how this, in turn, influences how they navigate urban space. The results of the study reveal how the migrants in George Town navigate the city as a ‘borderscape’ – producing a(nother) geography of fear which does not primarily reflect a fear of crime but rather a fear of state institutional practices, such as police controls, road blocks and raids. This shows, the paper argues, the need to pay attention towards both social and legal exclusions when examining how people in cities around the world are able to access and take possession of urban space.

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