Professor Alison Young
The University of Melbourne
The landscape of a city is a cartography of violence. Whether carried out by agents of the state, arising in interpersonal disputes, or merely the result of accident or chance, violence threads through urban spaces, sometimes rendered visible by official markers such as plaques and statues, but more likely occluded and all but forgotten, receding into the past. For all the social opprobrium directed at violence, its occurrence is rarely marked out for remembering within the everyday spaces of the city. And although there is constant chatter in everyday life about crime and victimisation, many are oblivious to the crime scenes through which they pass every day. But, sometimes, past violence can still be sensed in the present. techniques of memorialisation, such as the laying of flowers or posting of photographs of the missing or dead, provide ways of compelling the recognition of and remembrance of past disaster and prompt shivering moments of vertigo in which traces of past violence still seem to be felt in the present? This paper considers techniques of memorialisation after the Grenfell Tower fire as an example of plural memorialisation sustained over time to enact a collective call for justice. Arising from these encounters with ghosts in the everyday spaces of the contemporary city, I propose, therefore, a hauntological approach to the aftermath of violence.
Alison Young is the Francine V. McNiff Professor of Criminology in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne, and a Professor in the Law School at City University, London. She is the author of Street Art World (2016), Street Art, Public City (2014), The Scene of Violence (2010), and Judging the Image (2005), and numerous articles on the intersection of law, crime, culture and public or private space. She is the founder of the Urban Environments Research Network, an interdisciplinary and international group of academics, artists, and architects, and is a convenor in the Future Cities Research Cluster at the University of Melbourne. Her current research engages with affective atmospheres in urban spaces, including encounters with public homelessness, ghost criminology and memorialisation after crime, and architectures of governance and control.