Andrew Millie (ed), Policy Press
New Labour’s focus on respect and antisocial behaviour may seem to have receded under the premiership of Gordon Brown. But, as this book shows, under the surface it is alive and well.
This is despite the fact that the concern with antisocial behaviour and respect is largely about criminalising nuisance caused by young people. Yet we have all surely been involved in behaviour as teenagers that could have led to us being embroiled in what amounts to punitive measures.
The book is divided into five parts covering the context of respect itself, young people and children, communities and families, city living, and identities and values. All 11 chapters are written by respected academics from various fields such as criminal justice, social policy, urban studies and law. However, as always seems to be the case in books like this, contributions by practitioners (social work, youth justice, youth and community etc) were sadly conspicuous by their absence.
For me, the highlight was Geoffrey Pearson’s piece looking at the (questionable) version of history that sees an assumed social decline and a corresponding decline in respect over the past hundred or so years. The key point is that earlier discourses on hooliganism certainly resonate with current calls for respect from antisocial youth.
All in all, this is an excellent book which should appeal to all those working with young people.
Steve Rogowski is a social worker (children and families) with a local authority in NW England