Youth crime is simultaneously a social problem and an intrinsic part of consumer culture: while images of gangs and gangsters are used to sell global commodities, young people not in work and education are labelled as antisocial and susceptible to crime.
This book focuses on the lives of a group of young adults living in a deprived housing estate situated on the edge of a large city in the North of England. It investigates the importance of fashion, music and drugs in young people's lives, providing a richly detailed ethnographic account of the realities of exclusion, and explaining how young people become involved in crime and drug use. Young men and women describe their own personal experiences of exclusion in education, employment and the public sphere. They describe their history of exclusion as 'the life', and the term identifies how young people grew up as objects of suspicion in the eyes of an affluent majority.
While social exclusion continues to be seen as a consequence of young people's behaviour, Out of Sight: crime, youth and exclusion in modern Britain examines how stigmatising poor communities has come to define Britain's consumer society. The book challenges the view underlying government policy that social exclusion is a product of crime, antisocial behaviour and drug use, and in focusing on one socially deprived neighbourhood it promotes a different way of seeing the problematic relationship between socially excluded young people, society and government.
Table of Contents
Introduction. Masking poverty. Twenty-four seven society. Outline 1. A mugger's paradise. The unusual suspects. Working poor. Growing up in a poor community. Through the looking glass. Being poor in an affluent society. Shovelin shit: Nova's local economy. Ordinary world. Crime as status. Welfare and Workfare. Poverty, culture and crime. Too much too young. Social exclusion. Stitched up: exclusion at school. Compulsory youth training. Working in a service economy. Room 101. Crime and consumption 2. Nova. The Project. Uncle Sean Born and bred. Spirit of a community. The rule of the street. Linden's Nova: it's me, it's who I am. Survival of the fittest. Elements of a culture. Orpheus. Going under. Work and leisure. Working in Nova. A bit of business. Fuckin' chaos 3. Work Life or death. Children under a shadow. Just Thievin'. Racism. Gender and crime. Youthful aspirations. Shit. Street. 4. Respect. Gangsters. Drugs and crime. Poverty and drug use. Inside out. Social exclusion in action. Achieving respect. Floetry. Exclusion through style. Hip Hop culture. Watching communities. Risk and defeat. Maintaining respect. The enemy within. Feeling for one another. Faith in the future 5. Education. Problem youth. Ghetto heaven. One hand doesn't know what the other hand's doin'. A new initiative. Learning to labour. Escape attempts. You got no hopes: working on Workfare. Urban regeneration. The Workfare carousel. Been here before: repackaging the Project Behind the scenes. Making history. The Breakfast Club. Demonising community 6. Community. Living with poverty. Stigmatising poor people. Changing times. Thinking about society. Fatal strategies. People power. Township community. They think you're bad. War on community. The last frontier. Staying alive 7. Society. A dolls' house. Heroes and villains. Imagining crime. Search and destroy. Consumer protection. Faith in the city. The golden years. Law and order. Back to basics. Intel: crime in an information society. Being human
Robert McAuley studied for a doctorate in Criminology at the University of Cambridge, and was formerly a Research Fellow at London South Bank University. He is currently writing a book about young people's experiences of higher education.