Atmospheres of Lockdown: Pandemic Criminality and Spatial Justice

Professor Alison Young, Melbourne University

Chaired by Professor Sarah Armstrong, University of Glasgow

SCCJR Seminar: Atmospheres of Lockdown Tickets, Fri 29 Oct 2021 at 10:00 | Eventbrite


What are the affective atmospheres of cities under lockdown in the 2020-2021 covid-19 pandemic? To understand the atmospherics both of ‘pandemic criminality’ and ‘spatial justice’ within a city under lockdown, I draw on research conducted during six lockdowns in Melbourne, Victoria, currently the world’s most locked-down city. Several material localities are examined, including the shared spaces of the street; the domestic space of the home; the spaces occupied by or allocated to those who lack stable housing; and hotel rooms, used during the pandemic to house people experiencing homelessness, returned travellers in quarantine, and evacuated detainees. Issues discussed include the role of emergency powers in public health strategies, shifts in criminal conduct during the pandemic, the development of online criminal justice processes, and the unequal distribution of the atmospheric and material effects of lockdown across a city.


Alison Young is the Francine V. McNiff Professor of Criminology at the University of Melbourne. Alison is the author of numerous articles on the intersections of law, crime and culture, as well as Street Art World (2016, Reaktion), Street Art, Public City (2014, Routledge), The Scene of Violence (2010, Routledge), Street/Studio (2010, Thames & Hudson), Judging the Image (2005, Routledge), Imagining Crime (1996, Sage), and Femininity in Dissent (1990, Routledge).

Alison is the Deputy Director of the Melbourne Centre for Cities, and is a Research Convenor in the Future Cities Research Cluster in the Melbourne Sustainable Societies Institute. She has also been a visiting professor at Westminster University, Birkbeck College, State University of New York at Buffalo, Hong Kong University, and New York University and has held fellowships at the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University and the Karl Loewenstein Fellowship in Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought at Amherst College. She has been awarded several large grants by the Australian Research Council, and has received funding ($196,500 AUD) for 2021-2023, to study spatial justice, public homelessness and public dissent.