Summary of the Disorderly Behaviour: Past and Present

Summary of The disorderly behaviour: past and present

The problems of disorderly behaviour were undoubtedly recognized by Aristotle in ancient Athens. It would seem that as long ago as around 350 BC, the older generation were convinced of the more unruly and offensive anti-social behaviour of contemporary youth.

According to some historians, the eighteenth and nineteenth century had seen a rapid and major rise in juvenile offences compared to only small and unimportant illegal actions by children reported in the sixteenth century. The fact that cities were growing rapidly and the poor were being packed into designated neighbourhoods appeared to explain these changes. In 1898, a Brighton magistrate highlighted the anti-social behaviour associated with ‘the child of today’, and the term “hooligan” was introduced into the English language.

So when the writers talk of “social complexity”, they are referring to an increase in the social and financial diversity of the population resulting in the development of cultural melting pots.

The nineteenth century had also seen an emergence of gangs of girls who would frighten people with an unexpected drunken or aggressive behaviour.

Clearly, the idealisation of the past alters people’s conception of today’s social problems. According to the writers, the excessive media spotlight and the implementation of new laws such as s Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) can be termed “a moral panic”. The ASBO was introduced to support local communities to fight petty crimes; so they could handle and report any offences without to havehaving to appear in court.

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(Adapted from Kelly, B. and Toynbee, J. (2009) ‘Making disorder in the street’, in Taylor, S., Hinchliffe, S., Clarke, J. and Bromley, S. (eds) Making Social Lives, Milton Keynes, The Open University, pp. 353–94)