Negotiated Order: The Groundwork for a Theory of Offending Pathways

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Abstract

This article explores the role which formal and informal regulatory orders play in the development of offender identity. Drawing on quantitative and qualitative data from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, it argues that the cultural practices of formal orders (such as those imposed by schools and the police) and informal orders (such as the rules governing peer interactions) mirror each other in respect of their fundamental dynamics – animated primarily by an inclusionary–exclusionary imperative. Formal orders differentiate between categories of young people on the basis of class and suspiciousness. Informal orders differentiate between individuals on the basis of adherence to group norms, territorial sovereignty, and gender appropriate demeanour. Being excluded by either set of orders undermines the capacity of the individual to negotiate, limits autonomy and constrains choice. This renders the individual more likely to absorb identities ascribed to them with damaging consequences in terms of offending behaviour and the individual’s sense of self.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-75
Number of pages29
JournalCriminology and Criminal Justice
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • labelling
  • negotiated order
  • offending pathway
  • regulation
  • theory
  • youth offending
  • ESYTC

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