شناسایی دیدگاه کودکان در رفتار ضد اجتماعی: اختلاف با منطقه خانه و پیامدها
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|28674||2011||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Geoforum, Volume 42, Issue 6, November 2011, Pages 650–659
The paper examines the views of children living in contrasting British suburbs: exploring their perceptions of the occurrence of anti-social behaviour (ASB), their anxieties about different types of incident, and their views on appropriate punishments. Based on interviews with over 260 children aged 11–16 years, and 44 adults with a professional involvement in ASB, the evidence shows that the influence of home area on children’s perspectives of ASB varies according to the type of ASB under consideration. For ‘interpersonal’ ASB, children appear especially sensitive in the poorer area, where this ASB is much more common. Theories of normalisation regarding interpersonal ASB are not supported, as children in the poorer area are sensitised to the problems, rather than hardened, arguing for an urgent policy response. Regarding environmental ASB and the role of home area, the findings are reversed, and theories of normalisation are supported. Children’s lesser concerns about environmental ASB in the poorer, most affected area, pose rather different challenges to policy-makers, arguing for the selection of effective reduction measures at a local level, designed to better reflect the differing views of children in different areas. Identifying children’s perspectives brings new understandings to the multiple geographies of ASB, highlighting the importance of distinguishing between different types of ASB and raising awareness of the ways in which children’s perspectives may be similar and different from adults’ views. Our findings argue strongly for the central role of area in theoretical and applied ASB research, and a continuing emphasis on ‘the local’.
Discussion and research in Britain concerning anti-social behaviour (ASB) has been burgeoning for more than a decade, yet children’s perspectives on an issue for which children are recognised as so central often remain missing, just as the geographical dimension has also been neglected. This paper emerges out of a research project in Swansea, Wales, which focuses on ASB and children, and which incorporates a methodology designed to capture the influence of ‘home area’. The project involved interviewing more than 260 children aged 11–16 years who live in different suburban areas, and also adults who have a professional involvement with ASB. The research stands apart from other studies of ASB by examining the views of children, and how these vary by area of residence, thus enabling the paper to make a distinctive contribution to an expanding literature which is sometimes lacking in empirical data. Although the geographies of crime/ASB and of children are well-established fields, studies which overlap the two fields are rare. The focus of this paper on children in different geographical areas should enhance our understanding of the challenges to the reduction of ASB, with clear implications for policy initiatives, and the extent to which these should be tailored to local circumstances. The sub-sections which follow, begin by looking at ASB, its ‘association’ with the activities of children, and the way in which area is a key dimension. The aims of the paper emerge out of the attempt to intertwine the triple themes of ASB, children and geographical area in order to emphasise an empirical, policy-oriented contribution to the literature, and to enhance our understanding of the geographies of ASB. Evidence from the Swansea research project suggests how children are sensitised or normalised to different types of ASB in ways that appear to reflect the different characteristics of their home areas, with obvious implications not only for the urgency of a policy response, but also regarding the value of ‘the local’ in both theoretical and applied approaches to ASB. 1.1. Defining ASB and its policy significance The umbrella term anti-social behaviour (ASB) is used for a range of undesirable and inappropriate behaviours of varying levels of severity, both criminal and non-criminal. Its fluid definition and meanings have been extensively discussed and a range of typologies have been employed to disaggregate the concept (Millie, 2008, Millie, 2009a and Harradine et al., 2004). At its core, ASB is described as an act which causes “harassment, alarm, or distress” (Crime and Disorder Act 1998), which has an adverse impact on quality of life and a clear association with deprivation or neighbourhood decline (Millie, 2007a and Squires and Stephen, 2005). Evolving in the 1990s out of an earlier concern with what was then termed “disorder” (Burney, 2005), ASB was propelled to become a major focus of British government activity through New Labour’s ‘Respect’ agenda (Bannister et al., 2006, Helms et al., 2007, Jamieson, 2005, Millie, 2009b and Squires, 2008). After 1997, successive British Labour governments produced a plethora of new tools such as anti-social behaviour orders, for local authorities and police forces to use to curb ASB. The wave of legislation created new and faster means for delivering punishment and administering ‘justice’, with children often the targets of the new powers. 1.2. Children and ASB The association between young people and ASB/crime has been well documented. Crime and Justice Surveys and other statistics reveal that young people perpetrate a disproportionate amount of the types of crime that tend to be recorded (Hayward and Sharp, 2005, Madoc-Jones, 2006 and Van Mastrigt and Farrington, 2009). Moreover, evidence from recent British Crime Surveys indicates the substantial proportion of adults who view teenagers hanging around in public space as the most common sign of local disorder (Moon et al., 2009, p. 27). Children and young people are increasingly seen “primarily as potential threats to public safety and social order” (Mason and Prior, 2008, p. 280), with adult perspectives and perceptions of insecurity dominating the drive for intervention and change regarding young people and ASB (Crawford, 2009a, p. 6). Reflecting these views, children and young people have been made a key target for Government measures to tackle ASB (Crawford, 2009b and Tisdall, 2006). The energetic political drive to tackle ASB has often meant that children have been neglected as victims and that their views and opinions have rarely been sought. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989 paved the way for the participation of children (defined in the convention as aged under 18 years) in decisions which have consequences for their everyday life, and was accompanied and followed by legislation in the UK, notably the Children Acts of 1989 and 2004. However, despite a growing emphasis on children’s rights (Archard, 2004 and Matthews and Limb, 1999), the current exclusion of children’s perspectives within many community safety debates and decision-making forums is widely recognised (Haines and Case, 2008, Hill and Wright, 2003 and Nayak, 2003). There is of course the argument that most people, adults as well as children, are “passive bystanders” in relation to crime and punishment (Giangrande et al., 2008, p. 5), but the heavy focus on children and young people in debates about ASB argues particularly for their participation and a recognition of the importance of their views. While a burgeoning of interest in children’s perspectives is evident in much social science research (Weller, 2006) and in certain recent government reports (e.g. DSCF, 2010), further development is still required within the fields of ASB and crime. Moreover, mirroring the emphasis within the majority of youth studies on the post 16 age group (Nayak, 2003, p. 305), even the modestly growing numbers of research publications relating to young people and ASB/crime often focus on the older end of the age group up to 25 years old, thus paying less attention to the involvement of children (Roe and Ashe, 2008 and Sadler, 2008). Another limitation in much of the research is that even where children are involved, the numbers of children included are very small, and evidence is usually qualitative rather than quantitative, restricting the scope for generalisation. 1.3. The local area and understanding ASB The importance of area or neighbourhood to our understanding of ASB, has been recognised in relation to aspects of crime for many decades. Research indicates that place and locality are a key influence on offending (Wikstrom and Loeber, 2000, Clarke, 1997, Brantingham and Brantingham, 1981, Brantingham and Brantingham, 1995, Cohen and Felson, 1979 and Herbert and Hyde, 1985). Moreover fear, like crime itself, varies by area, and studies have shown that fear is differentially experienced by different individuals in different types of spaces (e.g. Pain, 2000, Pain and Townshend, 2002 and Shirlow and Pain, 2003). Thus for many years, the spatial distribution of crime and locations of fear of crime have been used to target limited resources at places known to have particular problems, in order to achieve maximum impact for the time and money invested (Ratcliffe, 2004). The role of area is also recognised as important in understanding people’s perspectives on ASB. These perspectives cannot be assumed to embrace fear, for, as Carvalho and Lewis (2003) have shown, residents in an inner city area of Chicago could display a “sense of safety in the face of crime and disorder” (p. 787). The ways in which perceptions of ASB or disorder are formed are extremely complex ( Sampson and Raudenbush, 2004 and Sampson, 2009) and reflect an array of drivers ( Mackenzie et al., 2010 and Thorpe and Wood, 2004). Analysis of evidence in the British Crime Surveys shows that adult perception of ASB “is driven by personal, household and area characteristics as well as the direct and indirect experience of crime and ASB” ( Mackenzie et al., 2010, p. 3). Yet, as Taylor et al. (2010, p. 60) have stressed, “we know relatively little about the geography of such perceptions”. Moreover, Millie (2008, p. 381) has argued convincingly “that what is, or is not, regarded as anti-social can be very context-specific”. People have behavioural expectations for particular locations, and “what is tolerated or even celebrated, is dependent on norms of aesthetic acceptability for that place” ( Millie, 2008, p. 388). With reference to Upson (2006) and his own earlier work, Millie also emphasises “the spatiality of people’s concerns and experiences of ASB” ( Millie, 2008, p. 383). Sellin’s (1938) report on culture, conflict and crime was pioneering in this regard, in explaining how particular areas or groups can develop their own norms of behaviours and values. The ideas were illustrated in Anderson’s (1999) ethnographic research in crime-ridden areas of inner city Philadelphia, which highlighted the ways that the rules of civil law can be weakened and replaced by a localised “code of the street” ( Anderson, 1999, p. 9). Not only are people’s interpretations of ASB related to the areas in question, but their interpretations of ASB will reflect their own social norms and experiences, based on the areas with which they are most familiar and the social groups to which they belong. This ‘area effect’ can therefore embrace a range of diverse aspects relating to environmental and social characteristics: the quality of housing and public space, the perceived frequency of ASB, and the types of families living there, amongst other characteristics. 1.4. Local area, children and ASB: research aims As we have illustrated, geographical approaches to the study of ASB/crime have been represented in the literature over many decades, but more recent work recognises that the emphasis on area is insufficient. Matthews and Briggs (2008), for example, criticise the lack of focus on the local causes and context of ASB in the recent pattern of reactive interventions driven by national targets and funding. Where children are concerned, an insufficient awareness of the role of local area invites particular criticism. A variety of social science research on and with children has pointed to the importance of neighbourhood for children (see Meek, 2008, McKendrick, 2000 and Matthews and Limb, 1999). Certainly as regards engagement in ASB, the linkages with area have been recognised. Mason and Prior (2008, p. 292) link the risk of youth offending not only with membership of a certain sort of family but with particular types of neighbourhood where such families live. Henderson et al. (2007, p. 14) discuss the cultures of violence in certain areas and how young people’s options and identities are “constrained or enabled” by their localities. However, according to Millie (2009a, p. 41) there is a danger of labelling areas as anti-social and that “Whole communities or neighbourhoods can be regarded as factories for producing delinquency, deviancy and anti-social behaviour”. That said, neighbourhood is certainly important in understanding ASB, although studies which incorporate an area dimension are very much in a minority. One development that may be partly to blame is the dominance of the risk factor approach in theorising about youth crime (Haines and Case, 2008 and Webster et al., 2006). The risk factor approach (see Farrington, 2007, p. 605), which gained importance in the 1990s (Armstrong, 2004, p. 102), emphasises that engagement in ASB/crime is largely a “product of the deficiencies of individuals and their dysfunctional families” (Pitts, 2008, p. 7), thus downplaying the influence of area. Arising out of the need to throw light on the neglected perspectives of children and the failure to embrace the role of area in much recent research, this paper attempts to interweave the three foci of ASB, children and area. A first aim of the paper is to investigate how ASB is perceived by children through a consideration of their views on three key aspects: firstly, how children view the occurrence of different types of ASB in their home areas and the city centre; secondly, the extent to which they are frightened by different incidents of ASB; and thirdly, children’s views on appropriate punishments for different forms of ASB. A second aim of the paper is to examine home area differences in those views making reference to the concepts of normalisation and sensitisation. In referring to normalisation, a concept embedded in sociological theory, we mean the process by which behaviours come to be viewed as normal or common-place in everyday life. On the other hand, the concept of sensitisation suggests an enhanced awareness of particular behaviours. Using two residential case study areas and with reference to the city centre with which the children of both case study areas appear equally familiar, the paper briefly refers to recorded ASB statistics, before examining children’s perceptions of the occurrence of selected types of ASB in the areas they know. The paper then attempts to assess the children’s levels of anxiety prompted by ASB in the different areas, and considers their views on appropriate punishments for ASB. Given carefully selected survey samples of comparable gender, age and ability distributions, differences between the views of children in the two case study areas provide empirical evidence indicating the ‘home area’ effect for this little studied group. Through weaving together a wide range of findings, the paper is able to highlight the importance of identifying children’s perspectives, the need to distinguish between different types of ASB and the significance of the local, home area for both applied and theoretical approaches to ASB.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This paper examines and presents the views of children on ASB, exploring their perceptions of the occurrence of ASB, their anxieties about different types of incidents, and their views on appropriate punishments. For all aspects, using interview survey evidence, we examine whether home area is a factor in children’s views. Apart from a focus on their roles as perpetrators, children have tended to be a neglected and excluded group in the study of ASB. Supporting recent calls (Horton et al., 2008, Jeffrey, 2010 and Vanderbeck, 2008), we advocate the value of child-focused research, especially to a key contemporary issue such as ASB with which children are so involved and where our interviews suggest that children are so keen to be heard. These conclusions therefore stress the importance of including children’s perspectives, as well as considering the findings on the influence of home area which raise points of policy relevance as well as theoretical implications for research on ASB. The research presented in this paper provides significant evidence relating to the role of home area as a variable in children’s views on ASB and reasserts the importance of adopting a focus on ‘the local’ within studies of ASB. Although aspects of area have been emphasised as important in understanding ASB, the direct consideration of home area has often been bypassed, and largely ignored from children’s perspectives. Home area is in effect a composite variable which embraces a wide range of environmental and social characteristics, including varying social norms, but it is a variable grounded in geographical space. Where it is shown to have influence, it argues both for area-based policy approaches and for its central recognition within theoretical frameworks for ASB. The role of home area was approached by selecting two very different suburban areas for interview surveys and then by considering home area effects in a comparative context, alongside gender and age. Gender and age are key variables in expressed levels of anxiety about ASB, with girls and the younger children expressing greater anxiety. However in terms of children’s assessment of the ASB problem in familiar areas (their home area and the city centre), and in terms of suggested punishments, the variables of gender and age have negligible influence. In this comparative context, the role of home area emerges as a potent influence on a wide range of ASB issues. Explanation of the home area influence is, however, complex, not least because of its composite and varied character. In the absence of more detailed research, a few cautious comments on the influence of home area can be presented, which emphasise the need to differentiate between different types of ASB and further reaffirm the importance of investigating children’s views. Our evidence on the role of home area in children’s views on ASB shows that an awareness of the different types of ASB is critical to interpretation. For the category of ‘interpersonal’ ASB, children appear especially sensitive in the poorer area, where this ASB is much more common. Here, children are more likely to see ‘interpersonal’ ASB as a problem elsewhere, and more likely to express fear of hypothetical incidents. Thus those from the home area with higher interpersonal ASB perceive it as a greater problem in the city centre than those children from the area of low ASB. Also, anxieties about drunks and groups of teenagers are heightened in the more deprived area compared with the more affluent. For environmental ASB, the influence of home area is apparent in a rather different form. This time it is the wealthier-area children rather than those in the poorer area who are more likely to express fear at the hypothetical situations of seeing someone set fire to something or vandalising. Anxiety about environmental ASB is higher in the more affluent area and lower in the deprived area. The findings on the influence of home area on children’s perspectives on different types of ASB have theoretical implications for our understanding of normalisation and sensitisation, and for indicating possible differences between children’s and adults’ perspectives, aspects which have received negligible attention in the literature. For the poorer area with higher ASB, the home-area influence regarding ‘interpersonal’ ASB appears to be a heightened awareness and a heightened fear. Theories of normalisation are not supported as children are sensitised to the problems, rather than hardened. This is rather different to the findings of research with 69 adult welfare recipients in Chicago which suggested that familiarity with problems of crime/disorder leads to them being viewed as more ordinary, more manageable and less frightening ( Carvalho and Lewis, 2003). Moreover our own evidence from Swansea suggests that older children are less fearful than younger ones, so within deprived areas, a contrast between sensitisation in children’s views and normalisation in adult views with regards to interpersonal ASB is a strong possibility and worthy of further investigation. However as regards environmental ASB, theories of normalisation receive support from the evidence on children’s perspectives in the poorer area with more environmental ASB, where an area-hardening effect is apparent. The children’s views seem to reflect an identified pattern of adult views in which people in poorer areas are less likely to perceive rubbish and vandalism as major problems than those in affluent areas ( Thorpe and Wood, 2004). Moreover, for this type of ASB, our findings concur with those relating to adults reported by Carvalho and Lewis (2003). Maintaining a focus on the different behaviours that fall under the ASB umbrella is therefore critical both in understanding the nature of the area influences and in highlighting possible differences between the perspectives of children and adults. The policy implications of these findings concerning normalisation or sensitisation in the influence of home area on children’s perspectives on ASB are also considerable. Regarding interpersonal ASB, the concern of policy makers should be focused on the quality of life for children in areas of high ‘interpersonal’ ASB. Our evidence shows that children who are more aware of ‘interpersonal’ ASB in their home areas are also more likely to find it worrying, in a way that could be restricting their enjoyment of public space, and seriously impacting their lives. We suggest that any surveys focussed on adult perspectives would have missed this finding. Regarding environmental ASB, although children’s views may replicate those of adults, there is no doubt that the normalisation of children to this ASB is a key challenge to its deterrence. The detrimental and long-lasting effects of environmental ASB have long been discussed in terms of ‘broken windows’ (Wilson and Kelling, 1982) and other theories conceptualising spirals of neighbourhood decline (Skogan, 1990, Herbert, 1993 and Sampson, 2009). If left unrepaired, ‘broken windows’ are seen as leading to more disorder and crime coupled with a progressive weakening of social control. Yet heavy police ‘crackdowns’ on the problem may have the adverse effects of increasing people’s fear of crime (Mackenzie et al., 2010, p. 2). Policy strategies for reducing high rates of littering and graffiti in particular areas of the city, therefore have the challenge of reversing the apparent normalisation of litter and graffiti, preferably without heavy police involvement, so that local children begin to view these behaviours as ‘out of place’. Our research findings also yield more specific policy recommendations regarding interventions and punishments for children. As regards punishments of ‘interpersonal’ ASB, children from the two areas show strong similarities in their views, suggesting that media-based ‘global’ influences are stronger than the local in this regard. Thus there seems little advantage in tailoring punishment strategies to local areas for ‘interpersonal’ ASB. However the situation is entirely different for environmental ASB, where several area differences are noted. Firstly, children in the poorer area of more prevalent ASB are less inclined to suggest punishment for minor ASB such as littering and graffiti. Secondly, where punishment is considered appropriate, monetary fines are more frequently suggested in the poorer area and community service in the more affluent. Policy makers should acknowledge that the introduction of measures to reduce environmental ASB may be differentially received by children living in different localities. Thus even though writers such as Chakrabarti and Russell (2008) highlight the dangers of a localised approach to punishment, our evidence suggests that there are important local variations in children’s perceptions of punishments for environmental ASB and where possible it makes sense to take these into account within a national framework of structured guidance. While local variations in the selection of punishments are recognised as occurring (Cooper et al., 2009) it is important that these variations should be based on an appreciation of the views of all groups in society, including children. Moreover, given the evidence of important local variations in children’s views, the findings broadly support the value of the Neighbourhood Policing Agenda, whereby policing for communities is more locally driven. In conclusion, our research findings argue strongly for an acceptance of the central role of area in the interdisciplinary field of ASB research. The empirical evidence presented in this paper provides a basis for grounding the discussion of the area dimension of ASB beyond the more general issues of context specificity and spatiality, to embrace a stronger focus on the influence of home area. Although the research in this paper was not designed to unpick the particular characteristics of the home area which might be critical in explaining the home area differences in children’s views, the research is important for affirming its overall significance, at least where children are concerned. Despite recent calls for approaches in research with children which transcend scale or which more strongly embrace the global (Ansell, 2009 and Pain et al., 2010), most of our findings argue for a continued emphasis on the local, because home area is such a key dimension in understanding children’s perspectives on the issue of ASB. Moreover, we argue that it is critical to recognise multiple geographies of ASB. An investigation of children’s perspectives brings new understandings to those geographies, highlighting the importance of distinguishing between different types of ASB and raising awareness of the ways in which children’s perspectives may be similar and different from adults’ views. The literature has been largely silent on any distinction in children’s reactions to the different types of ASB, and it is time that further research explores these issues together with a wider recognition of the useful explanatory role of the home area. In policy terms our evidence is sufficient to emphasise the urgent importance of addressing children’s fears and quality of life in relation to ‘interpersonal’ ASB. Regarding home area and environmental ASB, the findings of normalisation and the children’s lesser concerns about environmental ASB in the poorer, most affected area, pose rather different challenges to policy makers. Here the evidence argues for greater attention to the selection of effective reduction measures at a local level, designed to better reflect the differing views of children regarding appropriate interventions and punishments.