The Newsletter 61 Autumn 2012

Mall danger

Andy Fuller

Jakarta is dangerous – or, at least, many every day experiences make it feel so. Security guards are prevalent; in uniform, at guard houses, smoking cigarettes, waving mirrors beneath cars as they approach the entrances of malls and hotels. Surveillance is one means of creating both a threatened sense of security and a sense of fear. Part of the contestation and re-configuring of space relates to practices of surveillance, which is an act performed with an intent to trace, track and record the movements of potential and possible suspects. Surveillance, meaning to ‘watch over’, is a somewhat ambivalent practice; it seeks to prevent crime, yet simultaneously casts a suspicious gaze on those who are being watched.

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