Fortier A-M, 2007, "Too close for comfort: loving thy neighbour and the management of multicultural intimacies" Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 25(1) 104 – 119
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Too close for comfort: loving thy neighbour and the management of multicultural intimacies
Received 27 July 2004; in revised form 13 June 2005
Abstract. In this paper I examine how new forms of multicultural intimacy are imagined in contemporary Britain, and how they are invested with particular ideals of mixing, loving thy neighbour, and feelings for the nation. I trace these discursive themes in a myriad of social locations and forms—a television documentary titled The Last White Kids, reviews of the documentary in the press, and government policies on community cohesion. A key point of this paper is that racial, ethnic, and cultural relations are not only negotiated and ‘managed’ in literal spatial locations, but also imagined through specific emotional and ethical injunctions, such as ‘embracing the other’ and loving they neighbour. Moreover, these injunctions are imagined in the ambivalent spatial terms of obligations to, and dangers of, proximity—an ambivalence that is inflected with articulations of ‘race’, class, and gender. The analysis thus explores how the imperative of neighbourly love refers to both the desires for and anxieties about what the intimacy stems from and fosters. Who gets close to whom, and under what circumstances, is not left to chance.
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