Harm goes Mainstream: The Terror of Leisure

Leanne Mcrae1
1Curtin University, Morley, Australia

Discourses of harm within criminology have traditionally circulated through the paradigm of ‘youth’ with concerns emanating in leisure studies around excessive drug taking, drinking, or extreme sports like BASE jumping and parkour. This paper suggests that harm has gone mainstream. It is no longer associated with traditionally marginal ‘youth’ practices. Instead, in the age of terror, harm and deviance have re-located within the mainstream. Terror has moved into spaces of leisure to recode harm in the everyday. ISIS has consistently chosen spaces of and for leisure to attack people in the everyday. The Reina Nightclub in Istanbul, The Bataclan Theatre in Paris, the Ariana Grande Concert in Manchester attacks have shifted terror from the work-based attacks of 9/11 on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, as people arrived for their work day, the 7/7 London Underground and 2004 Madrid train bombings during the rush-hour commute, to consumer spaces of leisure where people are engaging in activities that blur the edges of the mainstream and alternative. This argument suggests that in the post-crash era, the rise of rentier capitalism and decline of traditional employment, leisure spaces have become instrumental places where meanings are struggled over, and in the case of terrorism, it activates an ‘exchange of violences’ that is at the heart of capitalism.

Dr Leanne McRae is a Research Officer with Curtin University with over 30 publications reflecting her interdisciplinary origins within cultural studies in such areas as postcolonial studies, popular culture studies, men’s studies, feminism, pedagogy, city imaging, fashion, popular memory studies, popular music studies, critical disability studies, and physical cultural studies. Her first publication; The Terror of Leisure: Spaces for Harm in a Post-Crash Era is about to be released by Emerald Publishers in the UK.


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