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Youth and public space Andrew Millie ESRC Seminar 2: Governing Anti-Social Behaviour Through Schooling, Parenting and the Family.

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Presentation on theme: "Youth and public space Andrew Millie ESRC Seminar 2: Governing Anti-Social Behaviour Through Schooling, Parenting and the Family."— Presentation transcript:

1 Youth and public space Andrew Millie ESRC Seminar 2: Governing Anti-Social Behaviour Through Schooling, Parenting and the Family University of Brighton January Photographs: Photos 7 & 10 by the author; Photo 8 by Nick Murison; Photos 1-6 & 9 from various internet sources (via Google images)

2 My focus today  Youth in public space  “As risk” or “at risk” discourses  Blame the parents!  Respect & urban renaissance  Contested urban spaces  Youth ASB and an urban aesthetic?

3 Youth in public space (Jane Jacobs, 1961:86) “…children have, and use, all manner of ways to exercise and amuse themselves. They slop in puddles, write with chalk, jump rope, roller skate, shoot marbles, trot out their possessions, converse, trade cards…[etc] It is not in the nature of things to make a big deal out of such activities.” “As children get older, this incidental outdoor activity … entails more loitering with others, sizing people up, flirting, talking, pushing, shoving and horseplay. Adolescents are always being criticised for this type of loitering, but they can hardly grow up without it. The trouble comes when it is done not within society, but as a form of outlaw life.”

4 Tony Blair (2005): “there is a disrespect that people don't like. And whether it's in the classroom, or on the street, or on town centres on a Friday or Saturday night, I want to focus on this issue.” (Tony Blair, 2005) Gordon Brown (2006): “…my parents were more than an influence, they were - and still are - my inspiration. The reason I am in politics. And all I believe and all I try to do comes from the values I learned from them. They believed in duty, responsibility, and respect for others. They believed in honesty and hard work, and that the things that matter had to be worked for.” David Cameron (2006): “If the consequence of stepping over the line should be painful, then staying within the bounds of good behaviour should be pleasant. And I believe that inside those boundaries we have to show a lot more love” So what happened since then? a disrespect that people don't like. should be painful, They believed in duty, responsibility, and respect for others. stepping over the line

5 “at risk” or “as risk” Troublesome or troubled…. At risk:  E.g. Gill Valentine (2004)  Parental risk assessment for their children  Privatisation of children’s play; “battery-reared vs. free range?”  Influenced by Beck, Giddens, etc… on “Risk society”  E.g. using the precautionary principle As risk:  Barry Goldson (1997): “The demonisation of children has provided a new enemy within”  Crawford and Lister (2007): dispersal orders can be used against “presence” as well as “behaviour”  Do the police have to use the precautionary principle?

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7 Respect Action Plan (2006): [Respect is] about showing tolerance, acceptance and common decency towards the people around us – our family, friends and peers, people who are older or younger than us, people from different walks of life or who follow different cultures or religions.  Influenced by Richard Sennett's idea of mutual respect (2002) …sort of (Bannister, Fyfe and Kearns 2006) … the respect agenda taps into longstanding economic and political concerns about the vitality of city centres. … The streets are being reclaimed through the exclusion of those who do not conform to [the consuming majority], but at what cost?  Relevance of “Contested spaces” Respect (& urban renaissance)

8 Contested spaces? e.g. Queen Elizabeth Hall, London (Noted by Colin Ward back in 1978)  Should they get ASBOs?  What if they did this on a shopping street? 1 2 3

9 ASB and an urban aesthetic? Groups of young people ‘hanging about’  e.g. Bluewater 2005 Public space is … an important arena for young people wanting to escape adult surveillance and define their own identities and ways of being. However, efforts to revitalize or ‘aestheticise’ public space … are increasingly resulting in the replacement of ‘public’ spaces with surrogate ‘private’ spaces such as shopping malls…” (Valentine, 2004:84) 4

10 ASB and an urban aesthetic? Groups of young people ‘hanging about’  e.g. Bluewater 2005 Public space is … an important arena for young people wanting to escape adult surveillance and define their own identities and ways of being. However, efforts to revitalize or ‘aestheticise’ public space … are increasingly resulting in the replacement of ‘public’ spaces with surrogate ‘private’ spaces such as shopping malls…” (Valentine, 2004:84) 5 6

11 Vs. ASB and an urban aesthetic? Acceptable graffiti 7 8

12 Also an aesthetic of street homelessness?  Also other ‘outsiders’  Street sex workers?  Those with mental health problems? Etc…. 9 10

13 Youth in public space  Spatially and temporally specific ASB  “Aesthetics of authority”? (Jeff Ferrell, 2001)  Leaving a sanitised version of urbanity  ‘Disneyfication’ of urban space (e.g. Sorkin, 1992; Amster, 2003).  Respectful communities cannot be generated through threat of censure  Although enforcement still has a place…  Accept that urban living involves plural and overlapping communities  The norms of the (adult) majority?  What about youthful norms?

14 So, what kind of public spaces do we want? And is there a place for youth?  Risky places?  Challenging spaces?  Places for cultural expression?  Safe cities?  “…many (male) urbanists celebrate graffiti, dirt, noise etc, others support a more ordered, safer city (see debates on CCTV, for example, which has increased women's feelings of safety)” reviewer comment  Respectful public spaces?  But respectful of youth as well as adults?


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