Social and Cultural Geography, 20(4): Young People's Security Landscape, pp 534-550

This paper offers a theoretical framework for the analysis of belonging in local communities. To do so it draws on a broad existing literature which argues that comfort is a key dimension of our attachments to place. The argument that experiences of local belonging (or otherwise) are related to a person’s sense of comfort is a persuasive one, though current conceptualisations do not always adequately reflect this contention. As a consequence, our ability as geographers to adequately theorise our relationship to local places remains limited. This paper presents an empirical examination of comfort and local belonging amongst residents of a social housing estate in the North-east of England, and explores comfort as it is expressed through acts of confidence, commitment and irony. It concludes by arguing that taking comfort more seriously might lead us to a more agentic and reflexive understanding of local belonging and attachment.