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Fear and the new home front

Domestic Fortress offers a critical analysis of the contemporary home and its close relationship to fear and security. It considers the important connection between the private home, political life and the economy that we term tessellated neoliberalism. The book considers the nucleus of the domestic home as part of a much larger archipelago frontline of homes and gated communities that appear as a new home front set against diverse sources of social anxiety. These range from questions of invasion (such as burglary or identity theft) to those of security (the home as a financial resource in retirement and as a place of refuge in an unpredictable world). A culture of fear has been responded to through increasingly emphatic retreats by homeowners into fortified dwellings, palatial houses, concealed bunker pads and gated developments. Many feature elaborate security measures; alarms, CCTV systems, motion-sensing lights and impregnable panic rooms. Domestic Fortress locates the anxieties driving these responses to the corporate and political manufacturing of fear, the triumph of neoliberal models of homeownership and related modes of social individualisation and risk that permeate society today. Domestic Fortress draws on perspectives and research from criminology, urban studies and sociology to offer a sense of the private home as a site of wavering anxiety and security, exclusion and warmth, alongside dreams of retreat and autonomy that mesh closely with the defining principles of neoliberal governance.

Even as the home is acknowledged to play a vital role in sheltering us from the elements so it has now come to be a locus around which many anxieties are shut-out. The home allows us to lock out the daily hardships of life, but is also a site from which we witness a wide range of troubling phenomena: the insecurities of the workplace, plans for our future welfare, internationalized terror, geo-political warfare, ecological catastrophes, feelings of loss and uncertainty around identity, to say nothing of the daily risks of flood, fire and other disasters.

The home now plays a complex dual role that slips between offering us protection from these worries while also offering the nightmare of its own possible invasion, erosion or destruction. On top of these concerns entire industries have been built that sell a war against strangers, dirt and disaster. This of course includes the insurance industry itself, but also the use of technologies that both protect the home and make it effectively more impregnable to casual social contact as well as the proliferation of products devoted to domestic cleanliness. Domestic Fortress considers the fantasies and realities of dangers to the contemporary home and its inhabitants and details the wide range of actions taken in the pursuit of total safety.

Rowland Atkinson and Sarah Blandy

8 The fortress archipelago We have made a series of observations about the ways the home has become an increasingly defended site. Though we should recognise the variability of ‘forting-up’ at the level of the individual home in this chapter we offer what we see as an intuitive and evidence-based analysis that extends our suggestion that a range of economic, social, political and technological forces are re-shaping the experience of individualism and home ownership today. We can advance further the argument we have developed by drawing out these trends and

in Domestic fortress
Rowland Atkinson and Sarah Blandy

9 Complexes of the domestic fortress The core of our argument has been that across architectural, technological, social, political and legal domains we can observe how it is that many private homes have become a kind of domestic fortress, designed in more or less overt ways to avoid social contact and to repel real or imagined potential intruders. While the fears upon which these changes have been built are not illusory, they have helped fashion mentalities and dominating built environments that speak of widespread attempts at escaping social contact and risk

in Domestic fortress
Stephen Constantine

2 A fortress economy, 1704–1815 The previous chapter noted the modest growth of the civilian population of Gibraltar until early in the nineteenth century and how its ethnic and religious composition did not conform to official British wishes. This chapter will add a further layer of explanation for those developments by exploring the economic history of Gibraltar in the century or so after the allied occupation. Gibraltar was, of course, sufficiently attractive economically after 1704 to induce civilians to enter and settle, and eventually to bring up families

in Community and identity
The making of modern Gibraltar since 1704

This study concerns the history of Gibraltar following its military conquest in 1704, after which sovereignty of the territory was transferred from Spain to Britain and it became a British fortress and colony. It focuses on the civilian population and shows how a substantial multi-ethnic Roman Catholic and Jewish population, derived mainly from the littorals and islands of the Mediterranean, became settled in British Gibraltar, much of it in defiance of British efforts to control entry and restrict residence. To explain why that population arrived and took root, the book also analyses the changing fortunes of the local economy over 300 years, the occupational opportunities presented and the variable living standards which resulted. Although for most of the period the British authorities primarily regarded Gibraltar as a fortress and governed it autocratically, they also began to incorporate civilians into administration, until it eventually, though still a British Overseas Territory, became internally a self-governing civilian democracy. The principal intention of the study is to show how the demographic, economic, administrative and political history of Gibraltar accounts for the construction, eventually and problematically, of a distinctive ‘Gibraltarian’ identity. With Gibraltar's political future still today contested, this is a matter of considerable political importance.

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Graffiti, writing and coming-of-age in The Fortress of Solitude
James Peacock

‘He’ll be with children who’ll never learn.’ (Lethem, 2003 : 20) Jason Picone compares the author of The Fortress of Solitude (2003) to its protagonist, Dylan Ebdus, and says: ‘Much like Dylan, who cannot escape the confines of 1970s Brooklyn even after moving to 1990s

in Jonathan Lethem
‘French’ style in Saint-Louis and on Gorée Island
Benjamin Steiner

seems to have been rather modest. 1 Compared even to the Antilles, the fortresses were not only smaller, but also less obviously ‘French’ in terms of their architectural language. In the Senegambia region, different European and African styles overlapped and combined to form a distinctive Creole style that perhaps contained more indigenous elements than was the case in other places. 2 ‘Portuguese’ style was already established when French traders founded their posts on

in Building the French empire, 1600–1800
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Stephen Constantine

, and of course the urban settlement at the end of the sandy isthmus was dependent on supplies from outside. Militarily, the fortress in the town was to guard that point of entry and exit, its walls extending down to the waterfront to protect the dock. Conceptually, it looked defensively south to the straits and Africa, not north to the Campo whose interests it was there to protect. Culturally too, the settlement on the peninsula was for centuries indistinguishable from its hinterland, whether Moorish and Muslim or Spanish and Christian. The events of 1704 were not

in Community and identity
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Rowland Atkinson and Sarah Blandy

social paradoxes of our time – why do we witness the presence of anxiety and fear among many of the globe’s most affluent people, 2 Domestic fortress and how does this translate into a kind of urban life that offers both continuities and definite breaks with the built landscapes of even the recent past? Many commentators on our social condition have emphasized that fear has become a defining component or index of contemporary life and our project in this book builds upon these concerns to offer a consideration of how it is that unease is increasingly linked to the

in Domestic fortress
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Fortification and castles on the Lesser Antilles
Benjamin Steiner

, the small island off the northern coast of Hispaniola. He conducted geographical surveys of these islands in order to assess their potential for the installation of a comprehensive system of fortifications. The string of fortresses Blondel planned to build for Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Saint-Christophe was, in fact, so extensive that de Baas compared this enterprise to the chain of strongholds at the French frontier with Flanders: He wants [to build] great fortifications equipped to a high

in Building the French empire, 1600–1800