Chapter

Conclusions: promoting mutual respect and empathy

Millie Andrew

in Securing respect

Published by Policy Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9781847420947
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303336 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847420947.003.0012
Conclusions: promoting mutual respect and empathy

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In historical terms, the search for ‘respect’ is nothing new. However, in the first decade of the twentieth century, the search for respect has reached a momentum unlike before. It has become an important issue in the UK and has become the focus of government policies. This unprecedented interest in respect was compelled by political reasons. The Respect Agenda of the government was seen as ‘contemporary civilising offensive’. It is an offensive agenda backed by anti-social behaviour enforcement measures where support comes in the form of threats of censure, where the definition of respectfulness and civility have been based on governmental assumptions of what the so-called majority of law-abiding citizens want. Rather than aiming to promote mutual respect and tolerance for difference, the Respect Agenda focused on the moral and behavioural improvement of a minority deemed to be anti-social and disrespectful. This chapter discusses the future of the Respect Agenda and the possible future directions of ‘securing respect’. It discusses what has happened to the Respect Agenda and the alternatives that may be used in promoting respect. It concludes that the Respect Agenda should remove some of the policy and legislative ‘clutter’ which hinders the promotion of respect. It does not suggest that all government interventions should be entirely removed and that anarchism is the solution to disrespect and anti-social behaviour. But a little less control and a little more uncertainty in public spaces may help. A greater encounter with otherness leads to greater tolerance, trust, engagement and empathy. Instead of forcing standard of behaviour, empathy should become the mark of true respect and civility.

Keywords: respect; search for respect; UK; Respect Agenda; civilising offensive; anti-social behaviour; mutual respect; tolerance; behavioural improvement; moral improvement

Chapter.  4015 words. 

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