Home List of Titles It's a jungle out there: Melbourne's Gangland Wars, Underbelly and the phantasmagoric city
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.3/230178
- It's a jungle out there: Melbourne's Gangland Wars, Underbelly and the phantasmagoric city
- Beasley, Carolyn
- The City has become strange and very bed hazardous, wrote Walter Benjamin in reference to Parisian anxiety towards the modernisation of their city (Salzani 2007, p. 168). In this modern city, the streets are a new landscape of danger and savagery, a veritable hunting ground in which those involved in vice can play. For the average citizen, the city becomes a phantasmagoria, a wildly imagined jungle of potentially deadly adventure. Melbourne's so called 'Gangland Wars' (1995-2004) constituted a brazen series of murders performed in suburban city streets and public spaces. In the popular imagination, this 'war' transformed the once genteel city into a site of personal threat and exaggerated fear, especially when contrasted with the previously invisible and cloistered nature of Mafia style of organized crime. The city had become a Benjaminesque phantasmagorical space akin to a jungle or wilderness, a playground for the dangerous and erratic lawless outsiders who conducted their commerce and enterprise in public view without consideration for the safety of the individual or the crowd. This paper examines the way a city can be re-imagined as a phantasmagorical space, using the 'Gangland Wars' as a case study. It draws on Walter Benjamin's ideas regarding phantasmogoria as a method of managing anxiety over change.
- Publication type
- Conference paper
- Research centre
- Swinburne University of Technology
- Paper presented at the Crossroads in Cultural Studies 2012 Conference, Paris, France, 02-06 July 2012
- Publication year
- Benjamin, Walter (1892-1940); Cities; Crime; Melbourne Gangland Wars (1995-2004); Phantasmogoria; Popular culture; Underbelly series
- Universite Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3
- Publisher URL
- Copyright © 2012.