International Conference: Cultural perceptions of safety
Questions of safety are at the foreground of many societal and spatial issues. Nowadays as well as in the past, the longing for safety is an important driving force for people and political and religious regimes. Therefore, it is important to reflect on how we define, experience and represent safety. In our modern day and age, according to statistics on crime, hunger, illness or death most parts of the world appear to be safer than ever before. However, the information age we live in brings us daily news of ecological catastrophes, drug crimes, epidemics, terrorism and trade wars, which influences our sense of safety significantly. Feelings of safety are thus connected to much more than measurable numbers, such as our emotional experience. Consequently, changing experiences of safety are influenced by social, political, environmental and personal factors and need to be seen in a broader context to fully grasp its impact.
During this conference, cultural perceptions of safety will be placed at the foreground. As feelings of safety, and also unsafety, are subjective indications it is interesting to look into the cultural expressions of these emotions and see how and when these have been portrayed in literary works, philosophical lines of though, artworks, architecture, various media and historical sources. The aim of this two-day conference is to bring together scholars from various humanities disciplines to pursue fluctuations in feelings of safety over time as well as in the cultures of surveillance and safety practices. This in order to answer questions such as; When do feelings of safety and unsafety emerge? Where, in which physical space, is safety located in cultural expressions? Do modern expressions of safety and unsafety differ from that in earlier times, and how are these feelings expressed, explained, generated, used and portrayed? Looking at these and related questions from a urban and rural, western and non-western, national, global and geo-political perspective will help us comprehend the impact of cultural perceptions and discourses of safety and analyse how they have been implemented in policy making.
We welcome abstracts for papers (20 minutes max. excluding discussion) focusing on modern and pre-modern cultural perceptions of safety. Contributions can address, but are by no means limited to the following themes: