A case of community safety : displacing complex ‘social’ problems in Fortitude Valley

Davies, Amanda Catherine (2011) A case of community safety : displacing complex ‘social’ problems in Fortitude Valley. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Public dialogue regarding the high concentration of drug use and crime in inner city locations is frequently legitimised through visibility of drug-using populations and a perception of high crime rates. The public space known as the Brunswick Street Mall (Valley mall), located in the inner city Brisbane suburb of Fortitude Valley, has long provided the focal point for discussions regarding the problem of illicit drug use and antisocial behaviour in Brisbane. During the late 1990s a range of stakeholders in Fortitude Valley became mobilised to tackle crime and illicit drugs. In particular they wanted to dismantle popular perceptions of the area as representing the dark and unsafe side of Brisbane. The aim of this campaign was to instil a sense of safety in the area and dislodge Fortitude Valley from its reputation as a =symbolic location of danger‘.

This thesis is a case study about an urban site that became contested by the diverse aims of a range of stakeholders who were invested in an urban renewal program and community safety project. This case study makes visible a number of actors that were lured from their existing roles in an indeterminable number of heterogeneous networks in order to create a community safety network. The following analysis of the community safety network emphasises some specific actors: history, ideas, technologies, materialities and displacements.

The case study relies on the work of Foucault, Latour, Callon and Law to draw out the rationalities, background contingencies and the attempts to impose order and translate a number of entities into the community safety project in Fortitude Valley.

The results of this research show that the community safety project is a case of ontological politics. Specifically the data indicates that both the (reality) problem of safety and the (knowledge) solution to safety were created simultaneously. This thesis explores the idea that while violence continues to occur in the Valley, evidence that community safety got done is located through mapping its displacement and eventual disappearance. As such, this thesis argues that community safety is a =collateral reality‘.

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ID Code: 50961
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Kendall, Gavin & Adkins, Barbara
Keywords: science technology studies, actor network theory, translation, place management, locational disadvantage, community safety, Fortitude Valley, community participation, government policy, discourse, social problems, crime, drug use, urban renewal
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 18 Jun 2012 07:18
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 14:46

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