The Viewing Glass of Disorder: Do Adults’ Perceptions of ‘Youth’ Affect their Perceptions of the ‘Disorder’ in their Locality?
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This dissertation explores the extent to which adults’ perceptions of youth affect their perceptions of disorder in their local area. Utilising qualitative data from semistructured interviews and a focus group alongside secondary data from the Safer Cornwall Partnership Strategic Assessment (Sorensen 2012), the aim of this study was to not only establish if adults’ perceptions of young people have a direct impact upon their perceptions of disorder in the Cornish town of St. Austell, but to also analyse how such perceptions are established, informed and influenced. Grounded by a wholly interpretive epistemology and through a ‘thematic’ analytical approach, it was found that ‘social’ disorder ‘cues’ are far more likely to ‘signal’ disorder to an adult onlooker than ‘physical’ cues. Subsequent ‘youth’ perceptions are then seen to impact upon these disorder perceptions by the finding that as people age, the ages they attribute to ‘youth’ also increase, thus subsuming the behaviours of ‘older’ youths within their own perceptions of youth. Therefore, once these perceptions have been propagated through vehicles such as the media, it could be argued that behaviours and acts that have become synonymous with youth are actually, in the main, not being carried out by young people. It was also found that the ‘fear of crime’ had a profound impact upon how young people and their behaviours were perceived and interpreted by the adults with whom they share a locality.
Kennett, G. (2014) 'The Viewing Glass of Disorder: Do Adults’ Perceptions of ‘Youth’ Affect their Perceptions of the ‘Disorder’ in their Locality?', Plymouth Law and Criminal Justice Review, 6, pp. 236-237. Available at: https://pearl.plymouth.ac.uk/handle/10026.1/9000
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