Thursday, August 11, 2022 - 12:30 to 13:30
Hybrid (in-person and via Teams)
The Criminology of Affordances: Homelessness, Dissent and Public Space

This hybrid seminar hosted by the UNSW Centre for Crime, Law and Justice (CCLJ) will take place in-person at the UNSW Law & Justice Building (level 2 boardroom) and online via Microsoft Teams. Please register here.

How do individuals engaging in public protest or experiencing housing insecurity make use of the material environment? This talk draws from a research project on spatial justice and public space to examine illicit adaptation of the built environment in four sites in Melbourne, Australia. Everyday urban places are composed of myriad ‘small things’ acted upon as affordances for survival within structures of silencing and dispossession for the urban ‘undercommons’.

The talk will draw from cultural, spatial and atmospheric criminology to inform an ethnographic method focusing on materiality, use, adaptability, and sensory composition to contribute to criminological understanding of the significance of ‘minor’ events, activities and encounters in everyday life.


Alison Young is the Francine V. McNiff Professor of Criminology at the University of Melbourne. She is the author of numerous articles and books on the intersections of law, crime and culture, as well as several books, including Street Art World (2016, Reaktion), The Scene of Violence (2010, Routledge), Judging the Image (2005, Routledge) and Street Art, Public City (2014, Routledge).

Professor Young is the Deputy Director of the Melbourne Centre for Cities, a multi-Faculty initiative bringing together graduate researchers and academics in urban studies. She is currently writing a book on Japanese atmospheres of criminal justice with Peter Rush (Law, Melbourne), as well as two Australian Research Council-funded projects: one on Justice in the Streets: Responding to Public Homelessness and Public Dissent, and one called A Night Shift: Planning for Night Time Economies and Workers in Australia (with Michele Acuto, Architecture, Melbourne).