Structural disadvantage: youth, class, crime and poverty

Authored by: Joe Yates

Youth Justice Handbook

Print publication date:  October  2009
Online publication date:  February  2014

Print ISBN: 9781843927174
eBook ISBN: 9781315820064
Adobe ISBN: 9781317821755


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This chapter sets out to explore critically some of the issues relating to youth, crime, class and poverty. In doing this it first explores some of the historical continuities in the representation of class and crime. It then moves on to consider the contemporary context, critically exploring the impact that structural disadvantage has in shaping the lived realities of marginalized, working-class young people and their experiences of growing up and getting by in the economic hinterlands of twenty-first century Britain. It argues that young people’s experiences of crime, whether as perpetrators, victims or both, needs to be considered in relation to structural disadvantage and marginalized young people’s acute experiences of poverty, inequality and exclusion. The chapter concludes by arguing that these important structural issues should not only be considered in relation to conventional mainstream criminological conceptualizations of crime, as defined by the state, but also in relation to broader issues of social harm which impact negatively on the lives of marginalized young people.

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