skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 200263 Find in a Library
Title: Vigilance and Vigilantes: Thinking Psychoanalytically About Anti-Paedophile Action
Journal: Theoretical Criminology  Volume:7  Issue:2  Dated:May 2003  Pages:163-189
Author(s): Jessica Evans
Date Published: May 2003
Page Count: 27
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper presents a psychoanalytic conceptual framework for understanding the protests of members of "Residents Against Pedophiles" on the Paulsgrove estate in Portsmouth, United Kingdom, in August 2000.
Abstract: In the evenings of the first week of August 2000, approximately 100 adults and children, calling themselves "Residents Against Pedophiles," marched through the Paulsgrove estate. They torched cars and firebombed flats and houses where suspected sex offenders and pedophiles were believed to live, including the residence of Victor Burnett, who had been "named and shamed" the previous week by the "News of the World." Similar events occurred in other areas of the United Kingdom. Anti-pedophile vigilante campaigns unconsciously manifest the strains that exist in the Blair government's dual approach to sexual offenders. These strains stem from the government's use of the administrative techniques of neo-liberal governance and, at the same time, its continuing attachment to the rhetoric of contemporary punitive populism, reinforced by other agents in the public sphere such as the popular press. The outcome of this trend is the blurring of the distinction between vigilance and vigilantism, which can only be clearly understood from within a psychoanalytic framework. This paper argues that the violent protests stem from a vigilante state of mind and the "mind of state" that makes community members responsible for preventing and controlling crime. This is evident in the protesters' fabrication of a "mental list" of convicted sex offenders that paralleled the official register. The author advises that making the identities of pedophiles known to the public does not in itself ensure that citizens will act responsibly and lawfully toward these individuals. 17 notes and 72 references
Main Term(s): Community crime prevention programs
Index Term(s): Child molesters; Community involvement; Crime in foreign countries; Sex Offender Registration; Sex offenders; United Kingdom (UK); Vigilantes; Vigilantism causes
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.