Social disorder and the criminalisation of indolence.

Ruggiero, Vincenzo ORCID logoORCID: (2010) Social disorder and the criminalisation of indolence. City, 14 (1&2) . pp. 164-169. ISSN 1360-4813 [Article] (doi:10.1080/13604810903529084)


Social disorder is constructed in particular ways around certain groups, and widely used to serve certain particular interests. It may contribute to mobilizing despair as a political weapon rather than demands for
justice. Appropriated by powerful groups, and turned into fear, it reflects, reshapes and reinforces the status quo (Shirlow and Pain, 2003). In common understandings ‘social
disorder’ is associated with behaviour involving potentially threatening strangers, ‘verbal harassment on the street, open solicitation for prostitution, public intoxication and rowdy groups of young males in public’ (Sampson, 2009, p. 1). Physical disorder, in turn, is typically referred to markers such as graffiti,
abandoned cars, garbage and the proverbial ‘broken window’.
In the following pages I will deal with some neglected aspects of the debate on social disorder, arguing that fear in public spaces transcends the potential criminal
nature of the threat experienced. Through a brief historical excursus, social disorder will be linked with the perception of certain groups as troublesome individuals, useless young people who fail to act as consumers. I will suggest that what is feared, in other
words, is less the criminal capacity of these groups than their indolence, their absence from markets and their relative deprivation.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
Item ID: 4242
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Vincenzo Ruggiero
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2010 15:27
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:17

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