Amoral panic: the construction of 'antisocial behaviour' and the institutionalisation of vulnerability

Waiton, Stuart (2006) Amoral panic: the construction of 'antisocial behaviour' and the institutionalisation of vulnerability. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Through a re-examination of the issue of moral panics, with particular reference to sociological work around ideas of ‘risk’ and a ‘culture of fear’, this thesis attempts to examine the emergence of the social problem of ‘antisocial behaviour’. Situated in part within the changing political terrain of the 1990s, the emergence of the politics of behaviour is related to the diminution of the human subject and the development of a therapeutic culture - both trends helping to lay the basis for an engagement by the political elite with the ‘vulnerable public’. These developments are traced through the 1980s and 1990s to illustrate the construction of the problem of ‘antisocial behaviour’, with particular reference made to the shift in left-wing thought from radical to ‘real’. Using the example of the Hamilton curfew in the west of Scotland, empirical research with adults and young people, and media coverage of this safety initiative, are examined to explore the idea of a ‘culture of fear’. The legitimation of the curfew justified by various claimsmakers is examined to indicate the emergence of the new ‘amoral’ absolute of safety. The experience of the curfew for the local people is also analysed and the contradictions between local concerns and those of the authority are contrasted. Finally, through exploring the changing meaning of the term ‘antisocial behaviour’ and its growing politicisation, the emergence of this social problem is related to the deterministic and managerial form of politics that emerged at the end of the 20th century.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Furlong, Prof. Andy
Date of Award: 2006
Depositing User: Mr Toby Hanning
Unique ID: glathesis:2006-1528
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2010
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:42

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