A Political Ecology of Youth and Crime by Alan France, Dorothy Bottrell, Derrick Armstrong (auth.)

By Alan France, Dorothy Bottrell, Derrick Armstrong (auth.)

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Adrienne explains that the police can, and do, move them on a number of times in the evening. , 2005) as well as the normal policing. For those who hang out with Adrienne they are continually being searched and told to empty their pockets and take off their tops. This is a common complaint, seeing the police as ‘always on their backs’. By just ‘hanging around’ especially if they are in large groups, they have the regular attention of the police. Larry (17) explains how the local shopkeepers in his area restrict their access to the spaces they like to frequent and are quick to call the police if they think there are too many of them;‘every time we sit down [at the shops] the police come and tell us to move on ...

However, actors do not just confront their circumstances they are an integral part of these circumstances. Bourdieu argues this limits our ability to perceive the whole picture or the fullness of social reality and as a result there is a strong element within our decision-making of recognising life as ‘the way things are’. Most of us then take everyday practice for granted: Most of us most of time take ourselves and the social world around us for granted. We do not think about what we do because we don’t need to – the business of social life would be impossible if we didn’t take it for granted most of the time.

Physical presence of ‘dangerous others’ is also a part of their lives, ‘You walk around and give someone a bad look or something, they come over and punch you’ (Laurence, 15). Adults can also give young people ‘grief’ or ‘aggro’ for nothing. Youth gangs, especially for some of the younger ones are also symbols of danger and risk within their places and spaces (Ralphs, Medins and Aldridge, 2010). Most victimisation surveys of the young suggest this is a normal pattern and experience amongst some of the most vulnerable and marginalised young people (Brown, 2005).

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