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Title: Closing the 'security gap' : young people, 'street life' and knife crime
Author: Traynor, Peter Robert
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 3911
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis explores the social meanings applied to the carrying and use of knives as a weapon, by young people living in areas with high rates of knife crime and violence. The thesis situates data, generated through interviews and focus groups, within a theoretical framework based around the concept of ‘street life’, as a place in which young people, often in groups, draw on street codes as a response to the extant violence and a ‘security gap’ in their neighbourhoods. This ‘gap’ was experienced to a greater or lesser extent by most of the young people who took part in the research, and was bound up in ongoing ‘integrational difficulties’ experienced in adolescence, and exacerbated by experiences of deprivation and marginality. Some participants responded to violence by adhering to a street code that exposed them to violence, and, reproduced the violence they sought to confront. Non-offending young people were able to draw on a ‘civic code’ as a means of sustaining collective resilience. Social integration is shown to provide a crucial form of resilience for participants. In the absence of sources of collective resilience, the knife represented for many participants a proxy form of resilience. Participants were sometimes able to cultivate more effective forms of integration and social resilience as they disengaged with ‘street life’ and, as a consequence, the knife as a source of protection became increasingly redundant. In this sense, the thesis is about how young people create and sustain identities, integration and resilience in difficult circumstances, and the sometimes-misguided ways in which they seek to do this. Thus, the thesis adds novel empirical and conceptual findings to normative and subcultural understandings, not just of knife carrying but of gangs, and other collective responses to violence.
Supervisor: Crawford, Adam ; Lister, Stuart Sponsor: ESRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available