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Securing respect

Securing respect: Behavioural expectations and anti-social behaviour in the UK

Edited by Andrew Millie
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  • Book Info
    Securing respect
    Book Description:

    Over recent years, the Government focus on anti-social behaviour has been replaced by a focus on respect. Tony Blair's 'Respect Action Plan' was launched in January 2006, Gordon Brown has spoken of duty, responsibility, and respect for others, and the Conservatives have launched their 'Real Respect Agenda'. Within government, the respect agenda has a cross-departmental influence, but like anti-social behaviour before it, 'respect' has not yet been tightly defined. And what is it about the contemporary UK that sees respect as lacking, that in order to tackle anti-social behaviour we first need to 'secure respect'? Until now, there has been little attention in the academic and policy literature on the Government's push for respect. Securing respect contains ten essays from leading academics in the field that consider the origins, current interpretations and possible future for the Respect Agenda. The contributors explore various policy and theoretical discourses relating to 'respect', behavioural expectations and anti-social behaviour. The book follows the five key themes of: respect in context; young people and children; communities and families; city living; and issues of identity and values. Securing respect is inter-disciplinary, linking theory and practice, and will be of value to practitioners, academics and students with interests in criminology, socio-legal studies, social policy, urban geography, housing, social history, sociology and landscape.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-095-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. List of figures and tables
    (pp. vi-vi)
  2. Introduction
    (pp. 1-20)
    Andrew Millie

    Following electoral success in 2005, Tony Blair announced that his third term ‘big idea’ was to create a society of ‘respect’. According to Blair, ‘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.’ A government ‘Respect Task Force’ was established in September 2005 and aRespect Action Planwas launched in January 2006. This cross-departmental agenda built on earlier work targeting anti-social behaviour – a topic that had became something of an obsession during...

  3. Part One: Respect in context

    • ONE Respect and the politics of behaviour
      (pp. 23-40)
      Elizabeth Burney

      Who can be against ‘respect’? And who can be in favour of ‘antisocial behaviour’? These twin, Janus-faced mantras have guided many government initiatives and new laws since New Labour came to power in 1997. Their effects (or lack of them) are the subject of subsequent chapters in this book. This chapter seeks to set out the ideology behind the various initiatives described, and asks whether slogans with illdefined targets are sufficient to change public behaviour.

      The importance of the notion of community is that it defines the relationship not only between ourselves as individuals but between people and the society...

    • TWO ‘A Jekyll in the classroom, a Hyde in the street’: Queen Victoria’s hooligans
      (pp. 41-72)
      Geoffrey Pearson

      The Respect Agenda implies a version of history. As the Respect Task Force has put it, ‘when respect for self, others and community breaks down, anti-social behaviour takes hold’.¹ It is therefore a history ofbreakdownand erosion: young peopleno longerrespect the law,no longerrespect their parents and neighbours, theyno longershow any obedience to authority in all its forms, there isnowa carnival of disorder in the streets of the ‘broken’ society. This in itself implies a time-scale, pointing to a time when communities were harmonious, whole and unbroken; when parents were dutiful; and...

  4. Part Two: Respectful young people and children

    • THREE Giving respect: the ‘new’ responsibilities of youth in the transition towards citizenship
      (pp. 75-96)
      Alan France and Jo Meredith

      There is growing political anxiety that ‘respect’ among the young is a major social problem of our time (Respect Task Force, 2006a). Youthful immorality and poor behaviour have been seen as major components of the ‘youth question’ for a very long time (as evidenced by Geoffrey Pearson in Chapter Two), yet there is a perception that it has increased in recent years (France, 2007). For example, in a recent consultation by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation young people’s negative behaviour was defined by many adults as a ‘social evil’ in the twenty-first century (Watts, 2008).¹ Similarly, there has been growing anxiety...

    • FOUR Every child matters in public open spaces
      (pp. 97-116)
      Helen Woolley

      In 2003 the British government declared thatEvery Child Matters(Chief Secretary to the Treasury, 2003). The expression of this assertion was that children should be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic well-being. One of the aims of this policy was to provide a more joined-up approach to children and young people’s services in local government. A more recent development of this policy was the launch of theChildren’s Plan for England, in December 2007 (DCSF, 2007). This is intended as a 10-year programme with the aim ‘to make England the best place...

  5. Part Three: Respectful communities and families

    • FIVE Disciplining women: anti-social behaviour and the governance of conduct
      (pp. 119-138)
      Judy Nixon and Caroline Hunter

      Our interest in women and anti-social behaviour stems from a longstanding research partnership. As sociolegal scholars, we have sought to combine our focus on legal instruments and on the processes of governance. Towards the end of the 1990s we published a report detailing social landlords’ responses to the growing problem of antisocial behaviour (ASB) (Hunter et al, 1999). As part of this study we analysed data from a sample of 67 nuisance case files drawn from 10 case study landlords, which we subsequently combined with scrutiny of reported Court of Appeal ASB cases. The findings provided a stark indication of...

    • SIX ‘The feeling’s mutual’: respect as the basis for cooperative interaction
      (pp. 139-168)
      Peter Somerville

      This chapter reviews our understanding of mutual respect and recognition, identifying it as a general form of cooperative interaction, underpinning practices of civility, sociability and intimacy. It distinguishes between ‘thin’ and ‘thick’ variants of civility and sociability, and throws new light on the nature of solidarity. It makes a connection between disrespect and social inequality, and attempts to show how the latter leads to the former. It criticises governmental approaches to respect, specifically theRespect Action Plan, arguing that these approaches are inherently disrespectful and therefore counterproductive. It explores the issue of ‘informal social control’ as an alternative to governmental...

  6. Part Four: Respectful city living

    • SEVEN Tolerance, respect and civility amid changing cities
      (pp. 171-192)
      Jon Bannister and Ade Kearns

      Britain has a reputation for tolerance (see, for example, Paxman, 1999). In the first half of the twentieth century, tolerance was regarded as one of several British virtues experienced by foreign travellers, compared to the alternative characteristics of other nationalities. International socialites such as Odette Keun (1934) described the ‘adorable things’ she liked about the English as including ‘courtesy, kindness, obligingness and tolerance’. In the post-war period, the creation of the myth about the virtues of the British that had both helped us to achieve victory in the war and also justified our ascendancy, included proclamations about British tolerance, in...

    • EIGHT Respect and city living: contest or cosmopolitanism?
      (pp. 193-216)
      Andrew Millie

      The contemporary western city attracts people with different cultures, values, backgrounds, beliefs, languages and traditions. Of course, I am stating the obvious and, in fact, this has been true for most cities, for most of the time. However, understanding how these differences can work together as a cosmopolitan whole, or whether they work in contest to cause suspicion, strife and resentment, is key to the promotion of respectful city living, to promoting urban cultures of respect for the ‘other’. For instance, different groups can have contested understandings of what is acceptable or unacceptable behaviour, with those seen as unacceptable being...

  7. Part Five: Respect, identities and values

    • NINE Civilising offensives: education, football and ‘eradicating’ sectarianism in Scotland
      (pp. 219-238)
      John Flint and Ryan Powell

      In 2006 the Scottish Executive published anAction Plan on Tackling Sectarianism in Scotland(Scottish Executive, 2006a). The action plan was the culmination of a growing governmental focus upon acknowledging and addressing inter-Christian sectarianism¹ within Scottish society. This chapter applies the work of Norbert Elias on theCivilising Process(Elias, 2000 [1939]) andThe Established and the Outsiders(Elias and Scotson, 1994 [1965]) to explore how norms, values and habits become inculcated and reformed within populations. We argue that the unprecedented contemporary policy crusade to address sectarianism in Scotland represents an example of a civilising offensive, a concept developed from...

    • TEN ‘You lookin’ at me?’ Discourses of respect and disrespect, identity and violence
      (pp. 239-266)
      Peter Squires

      This chapter attempts to develop an argument about the awkward parallels and contrasts between the use of a discourse of ‘respect’ as a policy tool – the Respect Agenda – and notions of ‘street respect’. There seems some irony in the fact that the issue of ‘respect governance’ surfaced, as a continuation of the government’s anti-social behaviour (ASB) agenda, at a time when a street discourse of ‘respect’ was coming to be increasingly associated with urban youth violence in a number of cities. At a time when the government was insisting on a new culture of respect as a purported...

    • ELEVEN Conclusions: promoting mutual respect and empathy
      (pp. 267-276)
      Andrew Millie

      In historical (and philosophical) terms, as noted in the Introduction, the search for ‘respect’ is nothing new. So why in the first decade of the twenty-first century is ‘respect’ seen to be such an important issue in the UK? As Geoffrey Pearson notes in Chapter Two, there is an assumed decline in standards of behaviour – that ‘young peopleno longerrespect the law,no longerrespect their parents and neighbours, theyno longershow any obedience to authority’. But Pearson’s evidence makes a nonsense of such claims and, in fact, people have been behaving in what would be regarded...