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Social Control and the Politics of Public Spaces

Political Authority, Social Control and Public Policy

ISBN: 978-1-78756-049-9, eISBN: 978-1-78756-048-2

Publication date: 4 July 2019


Public spaces are typically for everyone, and can be used by anyone, but governments control how they may be used. Examples of public spaces include roads, public squares, parks, beaches, public libraries, and the Internet. These spaces can be used for a variety of reasons, such as giving people a place to assemble and engage in free speech. Governments cannot avoid applying social control on the usage of public spaces, and their limitations often lead to controversy (whether for being excessive, insufficient, or both).

This chapter discusses the various ways governments apply social control around the world in regards to their public spaces, and how that inevitably intersects with and influences the usage of public spaces. Examples are taken from around the globe, from Tiananmen Square (Beijing, China) to Times Square (New York City, United States), from the American South before the Civil Rights Movement and South Africa during Apartheid, and in various countries impacted by the Arab Spring uprisings.



Leigh, K. (2019), "Social Control and the Politics of Public Spaces", Rabe-Hemp, C.E. and Lind, N.S. (Ed.) Political Authority, Social Control and Public Policy (Public Policy and Governance, Vol. 31), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 95-108.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, by Katharine Leigh