Fear and distrust in 21st-century Britain

Anna Minton

in Contemporary social evils

Published by Policy Press

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9781847424099
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447301981 | DOI:
Fear and distrust in 21st-century Britain

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This chapter condemns a pervasive and disproportionate fear of crime in British society, evident in the spread of private ‘gated communities’ and intensive security in shopping centres as well as restrictive policing on ‘problem’ estates. It also emphasizes the role of the media and politicians in creating a damaging climate of fear and mistrust. Policy makers have fallen into the trap of demonising ‘the other’. Two narratives, one concerned with the ‘telling and selling’ of news and one about the creation of ‘defended space’, serve to illustrate how this can happen. It likely appears that the narrative which views inequality as ‘yesterday's news’ will continue to prevail. Visible segregation continues to grow in the communities, encouraged by policies like defensible space and the creation of privatised parts of the city.

Keywords: fear; mistrust; crime; British society; media; politicians; segregation

Chapter.  4416 words. 

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