Stop the rot in thinking!

Stop the rot in thinking; anti-social behaviour is a complex issue, and it requires a youth perspective

Graeme Tiffany opens his critical response to the latest sloppy thinking about ‘anti-social behaviour’ as follows:

The publication of the Ipsos-Mori report, Policing anti-social behaviour: The public perspective, and subsequent media interviews with Sir Denis O’Connor, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, have been much to the fore this week. But if we thought a corner had been turned, having had a generation of one-sided stories about this issue under New Labour, it seems we were wrong; we are going to be treated to more of the same.

It might be true there are 14m incidents of ASB every year (which, we are told, equates to one every two seconds) but where is the unpacking of these statistics? No-one can deny that crime and disorder exists and that young people are involved in it. But how many of this vast number are reasonably defined? Detached and street-based youth workers in particular attest to the development of a culture where young people’s mere presence on the street is regarded as a problem. A panoply of research reports point to unprecedented levels of intolerance and a demonisation of our youth. Recently, we heard also of complaints made about the noise nuisance generated by primary school pupils at play. Whatever next?

All this, stoked by a politics of fear, extolled by politicians with sterile imaginations. No longer the purveyors of a politics of optimism: vote for me because of the good things I’m going to do; now, in its stead, the best they can come up with is: vote for me, I’ll protect you from your neighbour. It makes no wonder we are living in an era of cultural pessimism. The report seems to agree with this analysis; youth is defined as the primary typology of ASB: is where Graeme’s critical thoughts continue.

Published in: on October 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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