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NCJ Number: 51970 Find in a Library
Title: POLICING THE CRISIS - MUGGING, THE STATE, AND LAW AND ORDER
Author(s): S HALL; C CRITCHER; T JEFFERSON; J CLARKE; B ROBERTS
Corporate Author: Holmes and Meier Publishers, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 438
Sponsoring Agency: Holmes and Meier Publishers, Inc
New York, NY 10003
University of Birmingham
Birmingham, England
Sale Source: Holmes and Meier Publishers, Inc
30 Irving Place
New York, NY 10003
United States of America
Type: Historical Overview
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: THE POLITICAL, ECONOMIC, AND IDEOLOGICAL DIMENSIONS OF MUGGING--THE SOCIAL CAUSES OF THE ACT AND SOCIETY'S REACTION--IN BRITAIN ARE EXPLORED.
Abstract: DESCRIBED BY THE BRITISH PRESS AND POLICE IN AUGUST 1972 AS 'A FRIGHTENING NEW STRAIN OF CRIME,' MUGGING HAS BEEN FAMILIAR TO THE STREETS OF LONDON, ENGLAND, FROM AT LEAST THE 1860'S AND WAS THE SUBJECT OF INCIDENCE STATISTICS GOING BACK TO 1968. HOWEVER, THE 1972 ANNOUNCEMENT BROUGHT A 'CRIME-CONTROL EXPLOSION.' WITHIN A YEAR SENTENCES FOR THE CRIME ROSE FROM 6 MONTHS TO 20 YEARS. MUGGING RECEIVED MASSIVE MEDIA COVERAGE. THE CRIME BECAME A MAJOR CAUSE FOR CONCERN, WITH JUDGES, POLITICIANS, AND MORALISTS COMMENTING ON IT AT LENGTH. MUGGING WAS CITED AS AN EXAMPLE OF THE RISING CRIME RATE AND A SYMBOL OF VIOLENCE AND THE BREAKDOWN OF PUBLIC MORALITY. THE PERIOD 1972-1973 WAS FOLLOWED BY A SUCCESSION OF FURTHER 'MORAL PANICS,' AND BY 1976 MUGGING HAD BECOME SYNONYMOUS WITH BLACK CRIME IN THE INNER CITY. RATHER THAN FOCUSING ON MUGGING AS A CRIME, FIRST PRIORITY SHOULD BE GIVEN TO EXPLAINING WHY BRITISH SOCIETY PANICKED IN THE WAY THAT IT DID. MUGGING HAD A PRIOR HISTORY IN THE MEDIA COVERAGE OF AMERICAN MUGGINGS AND IN POLICE ANTICIPATION OF THE CRIME'S APPEARANCE IN BRITAIN. A SOCIAL DEFINITION OF MUGGING, CONSTRUCTED THROUGH THE INTERLOCK BETWEEN CRIME-CONTROL AGENCIES AND THE NEWS MEDIA, WAS MADE TO CONNECT WITH WIDESPREAD SOCIAL ANXIETIES IN THE POPULATION AT LARGE. SOCIETY'S FEARS ABOUT RACE, CRIME, AND YOUTH WERE CONDENSED INTO THE IMAGE OF MUGGING, WHICH BECAME A 'SCAPEGOAT THEME' THAT PROVED TO BE A CONVENIENT IDEOLOGICAL SYMBOL TO BE EXPLOITED BY THE STATE IN A PERIOD OF GROWING POLITICAL, ECONOMIC, AND RACIAL CONFLICT. THIS CONFLICT TRIGGERED A MAJOR CRISIS OF LEGITIMACY FOR THE STATE, AND ATTEMPTS TO CONTROL AND CONTAIN THE CRISIS LED TO A MORE AUTHORITARIAN, 'LAW-AND-ORDER' SOCIETY. MUGGING WAS ONE THEME AMONG MANY THAT JUSTIFIED THE STATE'S SHIFT TOWARD COERCIVENESS. A LIST OF NOTES AND REFERENCES IS PROVIDED. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED--LKM)
Index Term(s): Great Britain/United Kingdom; Mugging; Social organization; Sociology
Note: CRITICAL SOCIAL STUDIES SERIES
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51970

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