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Informal social control in the context of deindustrialisation and disinvestment

Rayner, Danielle 2013. Informal social control in the context of deindustrialisation and disinvestment. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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The thesis is a qualitative ethnographic study which examines the interaction between the operation of informal social control and de-industrialisation, in the context of austerity measures and public sector retrenchment. Drawing theoretical and methodological insights from the Chicago School, which argued that population churn and competing value systems in the ‘zone of transition’ inhibited the transmission of pro-social values (Shaw and McKay, 1947), this research develops these insights in a setting where these phenomena are absent in order to understand the implications of this changed context for informal social control. This study develops a definition of informal social control past its traditional focus on crime and anti-social behaviour and towards the control of actors and behaviours which are deemed socially problematic due to their transgression of local cultures of decency and respectability. This localised culture of respectability is itself the product of a shared identity and collective memory of hardship in a stable community where these values have been transmitted. This research builds out of an inductive examination of what residents viewed as the key issues facing them, namely combating a spoiled identity which was drawn from stigmatising media depictions of poverty and which painted all residents as being ‘workshy’. The implications for future research build on the construction of ‘decent’ identities in the post-industrial context and the ways in which identity is managed and renegotiated in an environment where even respectable individuals experience spoiled identities. It uncovers hidden orders within a seemingly disorganised community and demonstrates the extent to which state-based theories of crime control cannot account for levels of conformity to pro-social normative orders. In the ‘age of austerity’ this study highlights the importance of further research into the conditions under which this conformity may break down across a variety of different contexts.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:27

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