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Walking in on people in parks: Demonstrating the orderliness of interactional discomfort in urban territorial negotiations

Ablitt, Jonathan 2020. Walking in on people in parks: Demonstrating the orderliness of interactional discomfort in urban territorial negotiations. Emotion, Space and Society 34 , 100648. 10.1016/j.emospa.2019.100648

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Abstract

This article makes the case for the situated orderliness of social discomfort as a cultural resource for social actors in mundane public interaction. It does this by describing instances in which Urban Park Rangers ‘walk in on’ incumbent interlopers partaking in expectedly private activities in public park space. While social discomfort is often conceptualised as internal, personal, and ‘belonging’ to individuals, in attending to its orderly features in interaction, it is produced and realised as a public phenomenon available to be seen, managed, navigated, and contested in an orderly (and ordinary) way. The balance of discomfort in interaction becomes a situated resource for the management of urban territories, and the ability to ‘walk in on’ people in public park space speaks to the interactional accomplishment of privacy in such spaces. The unequal right to public space is shown to be contingent on categorisations of people and practice, complicated by the seeing of incongruity and the use of subtle interactional tactics to realise the balance of territorial power in situ. Territory is seen to be made and remade, and discursively ‘won’ and ‘lost’ in these brief encounters.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1755-4586
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 11 October 2021
Date of Acceptance: 12 November 2019
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2021 10:15
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/144812

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