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Title: Therapeutic policing? : early intervention, anti-social behaviour and social control
Author: McCarthy, Daniel J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2716 6510
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2011
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This study examines the growth in reactions towards anti-social behaviour ('ASB') in England and Wales since its legislative development under the Crime and Disorder Act (1998). Whereas the bulk of research directed at issues of ASB has been based on the use of so-called draconian regulatory powers such as Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, this study takes a different focus on how responses to ASB have facilitated early intervention strategies targeted at persons adjudged to be "at risk' of criminality. It is argued that the origins of the state responses to ASB originate from 'psy' science conceptions of 'risk', associated in particular with the logic of preventing the onset of criminality in those identified as showing antisocial symptoms. The study develops detailed understandings of the role of social control professionals in the identification of persons 'at risk' of criminality. This is based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork focused on the decision-making processes and street-level enactment of policies associated with early intervention. It is argued that despite the therapeutic values of many professionals, clients are often criminalised not for engaging in ASB per se, but for breaching a range of symbolic and cultural markers of class. This documents how class is actively constructed and directed by professionals towards clients through the strategic invocation of cultural values embodying judgements of status, morality, and respectability of character. Whilst often epiphenomenal to law breaking, it is argued that the flexibility of the definitional capacities of antisocial behaviour allow these forms of class construction to function in ways which allow criminalisation to operate in unquestioned and legitimate ways. Furthermore, this study argues that those subjected to ASB controls create their own reformative strategies and personal subjectivities around their immersion in such networks of social control. The study concludes by situating the findings within the concept of therapeutic governance which is used to explain the popularity of early intervention strategies, as well as their unquestioned effects in extending social controls and compounding social inequality.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available