'Fighting for respect' : youth, violence and citizenship in East London
This research explores the complex dynamics between young people's experiences of violence, victimisation and citizenship. The research itself is shaped by an understanding of the interrelations between theories and practices of childhood and youth, citizenship and violence and victimisation. Developing a fluid Link between these theoretical approaches has facilitated original ways of accessing and understanding young people's own experiences. Indeed, the research develops an holistic theoretical perspective that allows young people to explore structural, social and psychological complexities of their everyday experiences, through acknowledging the tensions between structural and inter-personaE violence. The research draws on both quantitative and qualitative methodological tools to engage with over 400 11-20 year olds in Tower Hamlets, east London. The findings show that many young people understand their experiences of violence and victimisation as being shaped by their reduced citizen status. This link however has a very different emphasis than current theoretical and political thinking, particularly within the policy arena. This view instead places blame on young people for their 'Lack' of citizenship and Links this 'Lack' of citizenship to increasing rates of violence and victimisation through punitive policies of control and conditional welfare. Young people's views guide the research, and through this process, the notion of respect emerged as an analytical toot. The Lens of respect offers an important and original way of understanding young people's experiences of violence, victimisation and citizenship. An appreciation of the importance of 'respect' enabled violence and victimisation to be understood as a symptom of a disrespected citizenship relationship with the state. Citizenship itself is a fluid dynamic between citizens and the state. Young people who experience their relationship with the state to be disrespectful can begin to seek out alternative routes to gain respect; one such way was identified as an engagement in violent behaviours.