Between Edges and Margins: Exploring 'Ordinary' Young People's Experiences of the Everyday Antisocial

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Abstract

In an attempt to understand youth-related antisocial behaviour, UK social policy has typically sought answers from the edge; investigating the motivations of young people perpetrating deviant behaviour or exploring the experiences of victims. Equally polarised and sensationalist narratives are present in journalistic accounts, with Knight's Hood Rat and BBC documentary The Scheme both depicting the lives of young people in 'disadvantaged' neighbourhoods as on the margins of society. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in a Scottish housing estate, this paper calls for a localised and situated approach to understanding 'the antisocial'. The empirical data shows that young people do not fit easily into the dualist categories of 'perpetrator' or 'victim'. Despite living in what could be classed an 'antisocial' place the majority of young people's everyday experiences were not spent on the margins but rather somewhere in-between, while their own identities were described as normal and unspectacular. The paper concludes by emphasising the value of research that situates understandings of 'the antisocial' within its everyday social context. This offers us the opportunity to take a broader analysis of young lives and crucially re-establish the connection between lives on the margins and the 'missing middle'.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
JournalSociological Research Online
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2013

Keywords

  • Antisocial Behaviour
  • Middling Youth
  • Social Class
  • Neighbourhood
  • Otherness

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