Making Strangers


Strangers are made; strangers are unmade. Right from the beginning, I have been writing in the company of strangers. The figure of the stranger is familiar; the stranger is thus someone we recognise (as a stranger) rather than someone we do not recognise. Neighbourhood Watch provides a set of disciplinary techniques for recognising strangers; those who “out of place,” who are loitering, who are “here” without a legitimate purpose. For those recognised as strangers, proximity is a crime.

In the afterword to the second edition of The Cultural Politics of Emotion, published in 2014, I made explicit how my arguments about strangers led me to think about and through emotion. In Strange Encounters (2000) I explored how the stranger as a figure appears through the very acquisition of a charge.To recognise somebody as a stranger is an affective judgement. I was interested in how some bodies are…

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