Why are state and social institutions so concerned with the transgressions of young people? Give examples to explain your answer. This essay will begin to analyse the question so then it can determine the relevant issues that need to be discussed. The ‘state’ can be defined as the population within a particular political boundary in this case the UK, and the institutions include the government, churches the media and schools.
To define the meaning of transgressions, a transgression is the breaking of a rule or the law and it can also mean going against social ‘norms’ as has been portrayed in such TV programmes such as ‘Neighbours from Hell’ on ITV.
It is also interesting that anti-social behaviour has been incorporated into English law as a ‘crime’. This essay will discuss middle aged to elderly people in society and the media moral panics that cause them to be concerned.
The media is central to the aspect of hegemony which will also be discussed as an issue, also a comparison with the media attention, and to some extent, the amount of resources used in detecting ‘young people’s’ crimes such as petty theft, to that expended on some white-collar crimes such as ‘insider trading in stock market shares.
Official statistics have an affect on the governments concern which will also be discussed, along with fear that social norms and values are being eroded which links with the discussion of anti-social behaviour orders.
Middle aged to elderly people in society are concerned with the transgressions of young people as often they are the ones who are seemed to be affected by their delinquency.
They can often feel threatened by youths on the streets and are disturbed by their mischief. Haines, K. & Drakeford, M. (1998 pg 4) explain how the perception of the youth today has now changed they are seen as “overwhelmingly out of control” and are “viewed with fear.” Once young people were encouraged by adults to go out and get some fresh air now are told not to ‘hang around’ outside.
Young people ‘hanging around’ on parks are now seen as a threat and young people who do go out on the streets with friends are looked upon as being dangerous. When looking at a percentage of age group victimised by young peoples transgressions, 20-59 year olds are in fact at the bottom of the scale in theft of property, from person and in violence. This is shown in ‘Misspent youth, Audit Commission, (1996)’ which tells how it is sourced from the British Crime survey (1992. ) This portrays that although older people are the most likely to complain of young delinquency they are the least likely to be a victim.
“Young people are more likely to be victims of personal crime than adults” Audit Commission (1996 pg 9). Also when the Jamie Bulger case came to light young delinquent boys were portrayed as being evil as quoted in the BBC website article “we will monitor this evil pair closely”. The media depicted that young boys were violent because they played computer games and watched films such as ‘power ranger’.
The Observer goes as far as to say that computer games are damaging to brain development. But the notion that violent TV programmes and films contribute to youth violence is not new and some contrasting research findings have been produced during the past 30 to 40 yrs. Audit Commission (1996) suggests that most offences by young people are petty. Meaning theft. “Only few young offenders commit the most serious types of crime: in January 1996, only four were being held in secure care or custody for the murder or manslaughter of other children.” And in terms of teenagers in serious violent offences in 1994, fewer than 400 10-17 year olds were sentenced for very serious offences.