Gestures of judgement and welcome in public spaces: hypervisible migrant newcomers in Darwin, Australia

Lobo, Michele 2015, Gestures of judgement and welcome in public spaces: hypervisible migrant newcomers in Darwin, Australia, Journal of cultural geography, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 54-67, doi: 10.1080/08873631.2015.1005881.

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Title Gestures of judgement and welcome in public spaces: hypervisible migrant newcomers in Darwin, Australia
Author(s) Lobo, MicheleORCID iD for Lobo, Michele
Journal name Journal of cultural geography
Volume number 32
Issue number 1
Start page 54
End page 67
Total pages 14
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Place of publication London, Eng
Publication date 2015
ISSN 0887-3631
Keyword(s) Aboriginals
public space
urban unconscious
Summary This paper draws on ethnographic research to show how pigmentation intensities of skin and facial characteristics make bodies of colour recognisable in public spaces of Darwin, a small multiethnic and multiracial north Australian city. This paper shows that the visibility of newcomers, in particular, humanitarian migrants from countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, circulates negative sentiments of fear, anxiety and discomfort in public spaces when instantaneous judgements are made. These judgements of misrecognition made by residents of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds lead to simmering tensions that unfold as visceral events of vulnerability in public spaces such as bus interchanges, neighbourhood streets, shopping centres and car parks. These events that have the potential to wound and numb bodies contribute to the “urban unconscious” of Darwin as a city where public spaces are safe with heightened surveillance. This paper argues, however, that events of hypervisibility, judgement and interracial tensions can unfold quite differently in public spaces if humanitarian migrants sense gestures of welcome, particularly from Aboriginals. Such fleeting moments of welcome in Darwin have the potential to bring together bodies with different histories and geographies of racialisation, so that multiple publics emerge through everyday habits of living with difference.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/08873631.2015.1005881
Indigenous content on
Field of Research 200209 Multicultural, Intercultural and Cross-Cultural Studies
1604 Human Geography
1601 Anthropology
Socio Economic Objective 940111 Ethnicity
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, Taylor & Francis
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