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By Alan France, Dorothy Bottrell, Derrick Armstrong (auth.)

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Additional resources for A Political Ecology of Youth and Crime

Sample text

For him, there are two components to these mechanisms. First, there is a young person’s ‘perception of alternative action’. This, he claims will vary by setting (which is determined by the young person’s personal characteristics and social circumstances) and is shaped by their moral judgements, their understanding of perceived opportunities to satisfy their desires illegally, and perceived provocations or/and self-respect received for acting criminal. In terms of individual action he emphasises a strong relationship between action and the rational decision-making of individuals which is shaped by an individual self-control mechanism and perceptions of sanctions and punishments.

Understanding who we are and our place in the world can only be achieved by exploring these relationships. Second, we have argued for a model of analysis that recognises the centrality of power and how it operates across ecological systems in complex but shaping ways. By 34 A Political Ecology of Youth and Crime drawing on Bourdieu we suggest that concepts such as cultural and social capital, interest and symbolic violence help provide a framework for how ecological systems can be structured and structuring.

Processes of social change can then be seen formatively in the actions of young people. Thus family socialisation is a limited way of accounting for young people’s sense of selfhood. Habitus, therefore, makes a critical contribution to our understanding of social identity in that it helps us interpret and understand external events and situations we encounter in our everyday lives (Swartz, 1997). Conclusion What we have argued in this chapter is for the recognition in analysis of the complex relationship between ecological environments and how criminal identities are formed.

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