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Tijdschrift Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit x Jaar 2012 x
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Angst voor criminaliteit en gated communities

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit, Aflevering 1 2012
Trefwoorden gated communities, safety, fear of crime, United States
Auteurs Setha Low
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Desire for safety, security, community, and ‘niceness’, as well as wanting to live near people like themselves because of a fear of ‘others’ and of crime, is expressed by most residents living in gated communities. The emergence of a fortress mentality and its phenomenal success is surprising in the United States where the majority of people live in open and unguarded neighborhoods. Thus, the rapid increase in the numbers of Americans moving to secured residential enclaves invites a more complex account of their motives and values. While their reasoning is largely the same as other middle class Americans, these seemingly self-evident explanations encompass deeper meanings and concerns. This article reviews the consequences of living in a gated community based on resident interviews, behavioral mapping, and participant observation field notes. I begin with a history of gating and then use ethnographic examples to summarize what I learned. I conclude with a discussion of ‘community’ as it is being re-conceived through a discourse of fear of crime in the United States through private governance and gating, and outline what we can do to ameliorate its negative aspects.


Setha Low
Prof. dr. Setha Low is hoogleraar antropologie aan het Graduate Center van de City University of New York (CUNY).
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