Disabled people experience significant social discrimination and spatial exclusion in their everyday lives in the city. In recent years, discriminatory acts have increasingly been labelled as ‘hate crimes’. We argue that hate crime’s association with harassment and violence has obscured the more common prejudicial attitudes and actions, which create anxiety and fear. Further, the paper seeks to shift the disability hate crime discourse from its present focus on individual victimisation, to the micro and local spaces, social relations and wider socio-political contexts, within which these acts emerge. We set out a critique of hate crime discourse, offering instead a relational interpretation of people’s experiences of place, drawing on aspects of non-representational theory. We argue that everyday movements through the city and encounters with others, produce senses of anxiety and precarity, as well as experiences of belonging, in the context of structural disablist attitudes. The paper draws on a collaborative research project in a city centre in Scotland, using a methodology of walking interviews and focus groups. The findings are presented in four themes, illustrated by qualitative GIS mapping: i) recorded and experienced hate crime and harassment in the city; ii) routes into and mobility within the city; iii) spaces of fear and anxiety, and inclusion and welcome; and iv) encounters and relations with others. We conclude by arguing that a relational approach, examining the dynamic unfolding or emergence of people’s embodied and emotional experiences and encounters (both negative and positive), in a range of contexts, is a significant contribution to the hate crime debate.
- Hate crime
- Learning disability
- Social exclusion
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science