October 28, 2013 Gender and Geography
Fear of open places or fear of marketplace
Agora (Greek) = public places of assembly
Coined in 1871 by Dr. Carl Westphal
Dates back to industrial capitalism and growing separation of public and
private and Victorian cult of domesticity
Emerges as a major disease in 1950
Over 85 percent are female, mostly white, and middle class. Mainly western,
North American and European disorder.
Mostly in the 19 century, they have unconscious guilt and fear once they
enter the social space.
Freud: agoraphobia due to repressed unconscious fears masquerading as
o They are unconscious about the temptation on the street and they are
mostly stay in the indoor household that going out is contracting to sexual
Streets threatening to those, like middle class women, who led a sheltered life
because they held the possibility of temptation, sexual fulfillment, escape.
It is all about Race and class, gender and location.
Agoraphobe – unconscious guilt, felt need for restraining walls of house
More recent theories suggest agoraphobes have lost ontological security: the
confidence or trust that the natural or social worlds are as they appear.
We are more skeptical about the world, and that things are bounded, we can
predict the boundaries anymore, therefore recently and globally we have all
suffered from the unconscious fear as well.
Including the basic existential parameters of the self and social identity
Davidson (2003) agoraphobe’s need for subjective space. This is like the
second skin to ensure they feel security. Women live in the second skin of the
house, increasingly invaded, space seems to be more subjective and therefore
they become an abject occupied by the society.
A space that surrounds us like an envelope
When agoraphobe leaves home, space ceases to be subjective.
Occupied by others, it becomes abject, invading the self and causing anxiety.
A) Agoraphobic women are particularly afraid of shopping malls.
o Shopping consumptions is one taking in the object.
o Boundary altery kind of experience. Acquisition activities.
B) Also seems likely that there is some link with pregnancy (Davidson, 2001)
o It suggests that there is residency b/w the disease
o Women body is very prone to leakage and their water breaks.
o There is more sickness. Rendering fluid of what is inside and outside. To
have another body within another body and challenge the boundary of
one self. Maintaining the boundary of a self. Women are also more
o Not only disorder or after illness. Life changing boundary experience
that can cause someone to have agoraphobic.
C) Fear of the gaze/ social encounters (Bankey, 2001). o Not the spaces themselves that they fear but the people in that space. A
fear of male gaze and being objectified. Their inability to define oneself
through the gaze.
Goffman’s theory of self-management
Interaction between strangers.
In presence of others, we are guided by a set of rules called situation
properties. Different situation and space has different rule and we have to
conform to them.
Conventions intended to allow illusion that one moves through public space
in a private, protected sphere.
Foremost among such strategies is civil attention. Encounter strangers in
your everyday life but you don’t pay attention to them. (Like I know that you
are there, but I’m not interested and to stay clear of them). In that way, we
feel safe and comfortable in the public space, we give people their personal
Demonstrate that one knows an “other” is present, but signal that the other
is not a target of special curiosity.
Art of mismeeting.
o 1) Desocialize space around one by setting up involvement shields or
o 2) Establish use space: territorialize space by highlighting its