Antisocial behaviour and the vulnerable public

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    Key to understanding the emergence of antisocial behavior legislation in the UK is the concept of diminished subjectivity, the emergence of an insecure elite guided by a precautionary principle of safety, and the construction and engagement with a universalised vulnerable public. As such this chapter attempts to explain how the demoralisation of the Cold War political framework resulted in a new relationship developing between previously political and moral subjects and the (post) modern elite. Central to this is the transformation of the robust liberal subject into a newly conceptualised vulnerable individual. Helped by the decline of moral conservatism and the collapse of political radicalism the active individual and collective were reimagined as victims of crime and vulnerable groups. Once reconceptualised in this way, the more fragmented public of the post-Cold War world, were engaged with through the emotion of fear and the therapeutic state stepped in to regulate an increasing array of behaviours, actions and speech that were previously not seen as criminal or in need of state control. The outcome is the institutionalisation of an asocial, fragile character type as the new norm for society by an insecure state that keeps us all at a safe distance from one another.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAnti-social behaviour in Britain
    Subtitle of host publicationVictorian and contemporary perspectives
    EditorsSarah Pickard
    Place of PublicationBasingstoke
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
    Number of pages11
    ISBN (Electronic)9781137399311
    ISBN (Print)9781137399304, 9781349485727
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


    • Vulnerability
    • Antisocial behaviour
    • Fear
    • Safety
    • Diminished subjectivity


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