Siting Prisons, Sighting Communities: Geographies of Objection in a Planning Process
July 26, 2012
This article reviews the planning process for a Scottish prison located near a former mining village. Analysing the letters of objection submitted by residents offers an opportunity to explore local views about prison and community and to relate these to the unique social and spatial history of the area. The planning process itself structured how residents were able to express themselves and defined what counted as a relevant objection. After deconstructing this process, the article then restores and uses as a framework for analysis three contexts stripped from local objections: the emotional, temporal and spatial. Emotional expressions of objection added intensity and gave meaning to claims about the historical decline of the region and also conveyed a deep sense of the proposed building site as a lived space. Particular grounds of opposition – over fear of strangers, the fragility of a local orchid, and the pollution from mining – provide an opportunity to explore the complex nature of place meaning and community identity, ultimately leading to a conclusion that the meaning of place is always in flux. The paper concludes by suggesting how Simmel’s classic concept of the Stranger, as the outsider who comes to stay, might offer a useful analytic in understanding how the quality of proximal remoteness that prisons and other unwanted developments constitute participate in a constantly evolving sense of the local.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 23
Keywords: prison siting, material considerations, objection discourse, emotional geography, planningworking papers series
Date posted: July 26, 2012
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