Recent Submissions

  • Do employment services need to be neoliberal

    Nunn, Alex; University of Derby (Routledge, 2018-12)
    There is a divide in the literature on labour market governance between that which sees ‘workfare’ policies as part of a process of neoliberalisation and a more practice-oriented literature that is concerned with the effectiveness and outcomes of ‘active labour market policies’. This chapter engages with these separate but related literatures to make the argument that the trajectory of policy and practice reform in employment services has been inherently neoliberalising over recent decades, and that there is scope to repurpose some of the processes and tools that have been involved in this to more inclusive ends. The chapter proposes that the materialist feminist concept of social reproduction offers one lens through which a more inclusive approach to employment service delivery and management can be viewed. The discussion is tailored to the ways that both national policymakers, local and lower-level implementers and progressive activists may promote a more inclusive form of employment service through their ‘policy work’.
  • Penal populism and the public thermostat: crime, public punitiveness, and public policy.

    Jennings, Will; Farrall, Stephen; Gray, Emily; Hay, Colin; University of Sheffield; Department of Politics & International Relations; University of Southampton; Centre for Criminological Research; University of Sheffield; Centre for Criminological Research; University of Sheffield; Sciences Po; Paris (Wiley, 2016-06-02)
    This article makes the case that feedback processes in democratic politics—between crime rates, public opinion, and public policy—can account for the growth of penal populism in Britain. It argues that the public recognize and respond to rising (and falling) levels of crime, and that in turn public support for being tough on crime is translated into patterns of imprisonment. This contributes to debates over the crime–opinion–policy connection, unpacking the dynamic processes by which these relationships unfold at the aggregate level. This uses the most extensive data set ever assembled on aggregate opinion on crime in Britain to construct a new over‐time measure of punitive attitudes. The analysis first tests the thermostatic responsiveness of punitive attitudes to changes in recorded crime rates as well as self‐reported victimization, and then examines the degree to which changes in mass opinion impact on criminal justice policy.
  • Political socialization, worry about crime and antisocial behaviour: an analysis of age, period and cohort effects.

    Gray, Emily; Grasso, Maria; Farrall, Stephen; Jennings, Will; Hay, Colin; University of Sheffield; Centre for Criminological Research, School of Law, University of Sheffield, Winter Street, Sheffield, UK; Department of Politics, University of Sheffield, Northumberland Road, Sheffield, UK; Centre for Criminological Research, School of Law, University of Sheffield, Winter Street, Sheffield, UK; Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Southampton, University Road, Southampton, UK; Centre d’Études Européennes, Sciences Po, Paris, France (Oxford University Presss, 2018-08-07)
    Fear of crime occupies a substantial area of research and theorizing in criminology. Yet, it has not been examined within a longitudinal framework of political socialization. Using insights from generational modelling, we explore how political cohorts influence the fear of crime and perceptions of antisocial behaviour. This ‘age, period and cohort’ (APC) approach recognizes the distinct temporal processes of (1) individual ageing, (2) current contexts and (3) generational membership and is crucial to understanding the origins and shape of social change. We employ repeated cross-sectional data from the British Crime Survey in an APC analysis to explore how worry about crime and perceptions of antisocial behaviour were impacted by the sociopolitical environment in which respondents spent their ‘formative years’. Our results underline the theoretical significance of political socialization and the methodological consequence of longitudinal analyses when exploring public perceptions of crime. We find that political socialization can have a distinctive and enduring impression on public perceptions of crime from childhood into middle age.
  • Revisiting Margaret Thatcher’s law and order agenda: The slow-burning fuse of punitiveness.

    Farrall, Stephen; Burke, Naomi; Hay, Colin; University of Sheffield; Centre d'études européennes de Sciences Po (2015-08-24)
    In recent years, criminologists have devoted growing attention to the extent to which ‘punitiveness’ is emerging as a central feature of many criminal justice systems. In gauging punitiveness, these studies typically rely either on attitudinal data derived from surveys that measure individual support for punitive sentences or on the size of the prison population. We take a different approach, exploring the aims, content and outcomes of various Acts of Parliament passed between 1982 and 1998 in England and Wales. Our argument is that while a trend towards punitiveness is detectable, this was, in the case of England and Wales, attributable to wider discourses stemming from the New Right of the 1980s. This in turn promoted a new conception of how best to tackle rising crime. We show that while the year 1993 stands out as a key point in the growing trajectory of punitiveness in England and Wales, the ideas and rhetoric around ‘toughness’ in the criminal justice system can be traced back much further than this. Our article brings these matters to the attention of political scientists and demonstrates how historical institutionalist thinking can guide and inform interdisciplinary work at the interface between political science and criminology.
  • Emotions, future selves and the process of desistance.

    Hunter, Ben; Farrall, Stephen; University of Sheffield; University of Greenwich (Oxford University Press, 2017-03-21)
    Desistance research emphasizes that offenders identify a future self that aids desistance efforts. However, it is unclear how future selves operate when offending opportunities arise. To explore this, we employ qualitative accounts of instances when offenders and ex-offenders abstained from offending, and the emotions this evoked. Offending was avoided to preserve aspects of offenders’ lives or avoid negative consequences but, for some, avoiding offending brought frustration. Finally, those who had made the most progress towards desistance were less likely to identify opportunities for offending. These findings suggest future selves inform the desistance process, highlighting particular ways to be. However, time is needed to build up valued aspects of the life that may be feared lost if engaging in crime. Before the benefits of abstaining are recognized, there may be a tension between the future and current self.
  • Is the ‘shadow of sexual assault’ responsible for women’s higher fear of burglary?

    Hirtenlehner, Helmut; Farrall, Stephen; University of Sheffield (Oxford University Press, 2014-08-02)
    This article examines the ‘shadow of sexual assault hypothesis’ which posits that women’s higher fear of crime, compared to males, can be attributed to their elevated fear of sexual victimization. We argue that the previous, overwhelmingly supportive, research on this issue is incomplete in three ways: (1) the thesis has not yet been extensively tested outside of North America, (2) competing, possibly overlaying, shadow effects of physical violence have widely been ignored and (3) perceptually contemporaneous offences have always been measured in an indirect manner. Drawing on the example of fear of burglary, this work tackles the afore-mentioned deficiencies. Results from a crime survey conducted in the United Kingdom indicate that, when relying on a rather traditional test strategy, the ‘shadow of sexual assault hypothesis’ is supported. However, the findings are highly contingent on the employed methodology. When utilizing direct measures of perceptually contemporaneous offences, only physical, not sexual, assault turns out to cast a shadow over fear of burglary. The impact of fear of rape would appear to be reduced considerably once fear of broader physical harm is taken into account. We conclude that much of the existing evidence for the shadow thesis can be challenged on the grounds of failing to control for the effects of non-sexual physical assault and drawing on an inadequate operationalization of perceptually contemporaneous offences.
  • Criminal Careers in Transition: The Social Context of Desistance from Crime

    Farrall, Stephen; Hunter, Ben; Sharpe, Gilly; Calverley, Adam; University of Sheffield (Oxford University Press, 2014)
    Continuing previous work exploring why people stop offending, and the processes by which they are rehabilitated in the community, Criminal Careers in Transition: The Social Context of Desistance from Crime follows the completion of a fifth sweep of interviews with members of a cohort of former probationers interviewed since the late-1990s. The research undertaken since the inception of the project in 1996 has focused on developing a long-term evidence base, rather than a rapid assessment, examining whether (and how) probation supervision assists desistance from crime. Building on interviews from previous sweeps, the authors continue their exploration into the needs identified by probation officers and probationers, the extent to which these have been successfully met over the medium to long-term, and whether this suggests that probation helps probationers to desist. The authors argue that probation supervision did indeed help the probationers, but that this had taken a long time to 'bear fruit' and was related to other social and personal changes. There is discussion of a number of key topics, including sample members' continued social and personal development (including the impact of parenthood on them) and their motivation to change and maintain a law-abiding lifestyle, as well as their experiences of dealing with the stigma of a criminal record and the long-term process of 'remaking' themselves. This core empirical research and analysis is framed by a comprehensive review of not only the contemporary literature on desistance and reoffending, but also what constitutes a successful and effective research design in this field. Whilst there have been several attempts to develop theories of desistance, few have attempted to understand and theorise the long-term impacts of probation supervision. Criminal Careers in Transition addresses this by building an account of the processes which help to shape the speed, nature, and direction of an individual's efforts to avoid further offending and, thus, develop a theory of assisted desistance. The book continues the authors' exploration of the emotional trajectories of crime, victimisation, and desistance and the role of citizenship values in pathways out of crime, as well as original research into the spatial dynamics of desistance.
  • Socialization and generational political trajectories: an age, period and cohort analysis of political participation in Britain.

    Grasso, Maria Teresa; Farrall, Stephen; Gray, Emily; Hay, Colin; Jennings, Will; University of Sheffield; University of Southampton; Centre d’études européennes, SciencesPo, Paris, France (Taylor & Francis, 2018-06-05)
    The role of political socialization in explaining disengagement from specific modes of activism beyond voting remains largely unexplored, limited to date by available data and methods. While most previous studies have tended to propose explanations for disengagement linked to specific repertoires of political action, we propose a unified theory based on the different socialization experiences of subsequent generations. We test this theory using a new dataset of collated waves of the British Social Attitudes Survey and by applying age–period–cohort models for repeated cross-sectional data and generalized additive models to identify generational effects. We show that generational effects underlie the participatory decline across repertoires. Consistent with our expectations, the results reveal that the generation of “Thatcher’s Children” are much less likely to engage in a range of repertoires of political action than “Wilson/Callaghan’s Children”, who came of age in the more politicized 1960s and 1970s. Significantly, and in line with our theoretical expectations, the “Blair’s Babies” generation is the least politically engaged of all. We reflect on these findings and highlight the concerning implications of falling levels of activism for advanced democracies.
  • Executive functioning as a predictive measure of offending behaviour.

    Spenser, Karin A.; Bull, Ray; Betts, Lucy; Winder, Belinda; Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK.; University of Derby, Derby, UK; University of Derby, Derby, UK; Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK; Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK (Emerald Group Publishing Limited., 2019-01-04)
    Prosociality is considered important in the study of offenders and associated cognitive skills: theory of mind, empathic understanding and moral reasoning, are said to enable self-control and reduce the risk of offending behaviours. Previous research has made associations between these skills and executive functioning; however, research into a link between them, in an offending population, is limited. The paper aims to discuss this issue. To further understand the practicalities of this, the present study considered the predictive abilities of the constructs believed to underpin executive functioning: working memory, cognitive flexibility and inhibitory control, in relation to theory of mind, empathic understanding and moral reasoning. In total, 200 male and female offenders completed measures in all six constructs. Using path analysis working memory was demonstrated to be predictive of theory of mind and empathic understanding, cognitive flexibility was found to be predictive of theory of mind, and inhibitory control was found to be predictive of theory of mind, empathic understanding and moral reasoning. The study focussed on offenders serving a custodial sentence of six months or less and did not differentiate between crime categories or take into consideration the socio-environmental backgrounds or ethnicity. Therefore, considering these things could further establish the generalisability of the current findings. It is noted that the more focused the intervention is to the specific needs of an offender, the greater the impact will be. Therefore, pre-screening tests for the constructs discussed may be able to more accurately assess an offenders’ suitability for a programme, or indeed tailor it to meet the specific needs of that person. These findings may enable practitioners to more accurately assess offenders’ suitability for interventions aimed at reducing offending behaviours by improving levels of prosociality and develop more focused programmes to meet the specific needs of individual offenders to reduce re-offending. As recommended in the study, a more tailored approach to offender rehabilitation may be a potential aid to reducing levels of recidivism. The present study adds to the literature as it is the first to consider whether the constructs of executive functioning can predict levels of theory of mind, empathic understanding and moral reasoning and so provide a more accurate method in assessing the cognitive abilities of offenders prior to participation in rehabilitative interventions.
  • Thatcher’s Children, Blair’s Babies, Political Socialization and Trickle-down Value Change: an age, period and cohort analysis

    Grasso, Maria Teresa; Farrall, Stephen; Gray, Emily; Hay, Colin; Jennings, Will; University of Sheffield (2017-01-26)
    To what extent are new generations ‘Thatcherite’? Using British Social Attitudes data for 1985–2012 and applying age-period-cohort analysis and generalized additive models, this article investigates whether Thatcher’s Children hold more right-authoritarian political values compared to other political generations. The study further examines the extent to which the generation that came of age under New Labour – Blair’s Babies – shares these values. The findings for generation effects indicate that the later political generation is even more right-authoritarian, including with respect to attitudes to redistribution, welfare and crime. This view is supported by evidence of cohort effects. These results show that the legacy of Thatcherism for left-right and libertarian-authoritarian values is its long-term shaping of public opinion through political socialization.
  • Moral Panics and Punctuated Equilibrium in Public Policy: An Analysis of the Criminal Justice Policy Agenda in Britain

    Jennings, Will; Farrall, Stephen; Gray, Emily; Hay, Colin; University of Sheffield (2017-12-22)
    How and when issues are elevated onto the political agenda is a perennial question in the study of public policy. This article considers how moral panics contribute to punctuated equilibrium in public policy by drawing together broader societal anxieties or fears and thereby precipitating or accelerating changes in the dominant set of issue frames. In so doing they create opportunities for policy entrepreneurs to disrupt the existing policy consensus. In a test of this theory, we assess the factors behind the rise of crime on the policy agenda in Britain between 1960 and 2010. We adopt an integrative mixed‐methods approach, drawing upon a combination of qualitative and quantitative data. This enables us to analyze the rise of crime as a policy problem, the breakdown of the political‐institutional consensus on crime, the moral panic that followed the murder of the toddler James Bulger in 1993, the emergence of new issue frames around crime and social/moral decay more broadly, and how—in combination—these contributed to an escalation of political rhetoric and action on crime, led by policy entrepreneurs in the Labour and Conservative parties.
  • Thatcherite ideology, housing tenure and crime: the socio-spatial consequences of the right to buy for domestic property crime.

    Farrall, Stephen; Hay, Colin; Jennings, Will; Gray, Emily; University of Sheffield (2015-09-14)
  • Understanding the educational needs of joint honours degree students in a post Brexit United Kingdom higher education sector.

    Pigden, Louise; Jegede, Francis; University of Derby (GRDS Publishing, 2018-03-24)
    The motivation for this research was to explore the lived experience of joint honours students, for whom there is little in the literature at present. The objective was to critique primary data collected from the students via a self-administered questionnaire. This phenomenological methodology permitted and unfiltered view of the students’ learning experiences to be explored. The research is based on a cross-university student survey, conducted over a period of six months. The online survey, which ran between June 2016 and January 2017, involved self-administered questionnaires designed to collect information on the learning experience of students on joint honours degrees, from four different Universities in England. A key finding of this paper is the need for university administrators to pay particular attention to joint honours degrees in their portfolios in the light of the growing and significant number of students opting to study these degrees and the general tendency amongst universities to focus attention on single honours degrees. Particular areas of concern are highlighted where students on joint honours degrees feel improvements in their educational experience could be made. The future scope of the survey results are discussed inthe context of Britain exiting the European Union and in relation to the growing debate on the intrinsic value of university education and the increasing necessity for university management to recognise the unique nature of joint honours degrees and design policy to meet the needs of students enrolled on joint honours degrees.
  • Crime, bandits, and community: how public panic shaped the social control of territory in the Ottoman Empire

    Cayli, Baris; University of Derby (Taylor and Francis, 2018-12-15)
    This study explores the role of crime, bandits, and public panic in in the nineteenth century Ottoman society by using archival documents and employing a comparative perspective. In addition to the social bandit concept of Eric Hobsbawm, there is an introduction of two new banditry forms in this study—opportunist bandits and imagined bandits. The comparison of different bandit forms clarifies that social bandits and opportunist bandits aggravated public panic and produced imagined bandits. Hence, public panic and the dissent of local people unveiled through rumors about the imagined bandits. The exploration of different forms of bandits in the Ottoman Empire is a response to the vexed issue concerning the challenges in the social control of territories in a multiethnic and multi-religious empire. This study provides new conceptual tools to rethink about the spatial dimensions in the emergence of bandits. This article shows that spatial factors in the social control of territory can be influenced by the reaction of local people from bottom-to-top and, in doing so, can determine the response of state authority. The present study, therefore, unveils the power relationship in the social control of territory whether it is manifested by physical force or public panic.
  • An odd “foreign policy couple”? Syria and Saudi Arabia 1970-1989

    Belcastro, Francesco; University of Derby (Taylor & Francis, 2019)
    This paper analyses the alliance between Syria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the years 1970-1989. The relations between the two Arab powers were characterized by cooperation and support amid ideological and ‘structural’ differences. This was a stark contrast with the conflictual relations of the previous decade. The change was driven mainly by a reshaping in Syria’s regional policy. The new ‘realist’ foreign policy imposed by Hafiz Al-Assad created an overlapping of interests between Syria and the KSA. Riyadh valued Syria’s role in the region and used its support of Damascus vis-à-vis Israel as a tool to obtain domestic and regional legitimacy. On the other hand Syria benefited from the KSA’s generous economic and diplomatic help. This study will use an approach based on neoclassical realism to show how domestic and international factors led to these changes.
  • Empowering women for positive action in an era of social injustice and gender inequality.

    Jegede, Francis; University of Derby (University of Derby, 2018-11-22)
    Empowering women for positive action in an era of social injustice and gender inequality
  • The political economy of public employment services: measurement and disempowered empowerment?

    Nunn, Alex; Morgan, Jamie; University of Derby (Taylor & Francis, 2018-11-21)
    Active labour market policies (ALMPs) and Public Employment Services are related components of European Union and member state labour market policy. Typically, PES are analysed in terms of a narrow concern with efficiency and effectiveness of service. In this paper we argue that PES are constituents in broader processes. They are not just means to facilitate employment, they are also part of transmission mechanisms for a political economy of competitiveness. They play a particular role in governance processes, and so serve to produce and reproduce power relations that are intrinsic to those processes. We argue that the technical ways that PES have been managed over recent decades has contributed to broader processes of disempowering labour, through depoliticised management practices. We argue that attempts at even limited re-empowerment of labour would require a repoliticisation of these management practices.
  • Navigating drugs at university: normalization, differentiation & drift?

    Patton, David; University of Derby (Emerald Publishing, 2018)
    Whilst drug use appears to be common amongst university students, this study moved beyond mere drug prevalence, and for the first time in the UK, used the 6 dimensions of normalisation to better understand the role and place drugs play in the lives of university students. 512 students completed a Student Lifestyle Survey. A differentiated normalisation is occurring amongst different student groups; the social supply of drugs is common, and some users are ‘drifting’ into supply roles yet such acts are neutralized. Students are ‘drug literate’ and have to navigate drugs, and their consumption, availability and marketing, as part of their everyday student life. Student drug use is not homogenous and very little is known about the nuances and diversity of their use/non-use beyond prevalence data.  Qualitative studies are needed to better understand the processes of differentiated normalisation and social supply. This is the first study in the UK to use the six dimensions of normalisation amongst a sample of university students
  • Body-worn cameras: determining the democratic habitus of policing.

    Cayli, Baris; Hargreaves, Charlotte; Hodgson, Philip; University of Derby (Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2018)
    Purpose – This study advances our knowledge about the effectiveness of body-worn cameras (BWCs) through exploring the perceptions of English police officers in three principal areas: (i) positive perceptions, (ii) negative perceptions, and (iii) evidence-focused perceptions. In doing so, this study aims to shed new light on the democratising process in the habitus of policing. Design/methodology/approach – This study presents a novel dataset that evaluates the introduction of BWC to police officers in the East Midlands area of England. We conducted an extensive survey to explore the perceptions of 162 police officers about the BWCs. We examine our empirical data using Stata within the theoretical framework of Pierre Bourdieu concerning the concept of habitus. Findings – We have found that most police officers perceive that BWCs have a positive impact on policing practices and evidence collection. The positive perceptions and evidence-focused perceptions increase the importance of BWCs; however, there are also negative perceptions regarding effective policing, administrative functionality, and establishing a better relationship with the community. We argue that all three areas: (i) positive perceptions, (ii) negative perceptions and (iii) evidence-focused perceptions play a stimulating role to democratise the habitus of policing. On the other hand, BWCs do not guarantee the consolidation of democratic principles in the habitus of policing because of the authority of police to decide when, where, and how to use BWCs. Research limitations/implications – The research is limited to the perceptions of 162 police officers in East Midlands before they actually started using it. A future study to analyse their real-life experiences after using the BWCs may help us to compare their perceptions before using it with real-life experiences after BWCs are used. In addition, a comparative approach between countries in future research will help to explain the role of technological applications in different social geographies and legal systems Originality/value – This study offers new insights about the perceptions of police on BWCs before they started using them. We introduce the democratic habitus of policing as an innovative concept and explore power dynamics in the habitus of policing through BWCs. Our findings provide a strong empirical contribution to determine the conditions of democratic habitus of policing. In doing so, this study develops our theoretical knowledge about the habitus concept in sociology by employing BWCs in policing activities.
  • The usefulness of psychopathy in explaining and predicting violence: discussing the utility of competing perspectives.

    Bergstrøm, Henriette; Larmour, Simon R.; Farrington, David P.; University of Derby; University of Cambridge (Elsevier, 2018-07-12)
    The current study is a review of the utility of psychopathy in violence risk assessment. Psychopathy has long been considered one of the most important factors when assessing the risk for future violence in forensic samples. Concerns about tautology have however indicated a need to critically assess the utility of psychopathy measures in risk assessment. We argue that the focus should be as much on the psychopathic personality in the explanation of violent behavior as on the psychopathic personality in the prediction of violent behavior. The main aim of this article is to contrast and discuss the utility of two different ways of conceptualizing and measuring the psychopathic personality, namely through the PCL scales and the CAPP. Existing evidence suggests that the CAPP and PCL are comparably strong predictors of violent behavior, but the CAPP is more dynamic (compared with the static PCL) and aims to measure psychopathic personality rather than past behavior. It is proposed that the CAPP is more useful in explaining violence and should be utilized more in future risk assessments for violence. Implications for future practice are discussed.

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