Disciplining women: anti-social behaviour and the governance of conduct

Judy Nixon and Caroline Hunter

in Securing respect

Published by Policy Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9781847420947
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303336 | DOI:
Disciplining women: anti-social behaviour and the governance of conduct

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This chapter focuses on anti-social behaviour (ASB) and the notion that ASB is a gendered issue. It presents findings from a three-year evaluation of six Family Intervention Projects (FIPs) which were established in 2003 to provide services to families who were under the threat of homelessness as a result of complaints of anti-social behaviour. It also compares and contrasts the discourses of women in the FIPs with those of judges of the Court of Appeals when considering cases concerning anti-social behaviour. This chapter is divided into three sections. The first section discusses the framework for the analysis used in this chapter. In this section, the attention is directed to the locales of conflict, in which the public and private spheres are interconnected. In the policy interventions of the state which at the time were normally saturated by moral discourse, the calls for increased ‘parental responsibility’ were dominated by gendered rhetoric wherein the mothers rather than the fathers were held to be primarily responsible for the conduct of their children. The section examines the lived material realities of ASB, through the experiences of lone-parent women who were referred to the FIPs. The third section discusses the recent Court of Appeal ASB judgements. It highlights the ways in which judgements have been informed by the use of moralising binary divides to apportion responsibility. The chapter ends with some observations on the contradictions inherent in the formation of women as gendered welfare subjects and emphasises the need for development of a more finely nuanced gendered analysis.

Keywords: anti-social behaviour; gendered issue; Family Intervention Projects; families; women; policy interventions; parental responsibility; lone-parent women; ASB judgements; realities of ASB

Chapter.  7772 words. 

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