Department of Sociology

The blog of the Department of Sociology at the University of Surrey

‘Soft’ Policing: The Collaborative Control of Anti-Social Behaviour (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) – a reflexive review by the author

By Daniel McCarthy

In recent years we have witnessed many challenges to the core ideologies and functions of the police in England and Wales. One such agenda, which this blog posting analyses, is the emphasis of the police on trying to support children and young people on the fringes of offending. These strategies are referred to in my book as ‘soft policing’ – where the police take on a mandate which involves a more social service or social work emphasis, but at the same time continue many of their existing law and order roles and perspectives. Despite the police’s involvement in various social service activities since before the Metropolitan Police Act 1829, the recent focus of the police to work more collaboratively with various community agencies to help support and divert young people from offending has grown. In practical terms, these collaborative operations have been challenging for the police to engage with. Inter-agency tensions between the police (with their focus on enforcement of the criminal law) and the welfare-orientated of other agencies and services, differences within the police organization regarding what constitutes ‘proper’ police work, cynicism regarding the genuine ability of the police to balance its law enforcement mandate with a welfarist one, along with a host of other factors, have all been put forward to explain the implementation gap associated with these ‘soft’ policing practices.

On reading, reviewing and changing conceptions of working-class adulthood

By Andrew King

As someone whose research explores young people’s transitions to and understandings of adulthood, I was pleased to be approached recently to review a book for an American Sociology journal. The book’s called ‘Coming up Short: Working-Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty’ written by Jennifer Silva, who’s a post-doc fellow at Harvard. I’ll say a little about the book in a moment, but part of the reason I decided to do the review was because I wanted to try out something a colleague had told me he’d done: create a dedicated ‘reading slot’ in his daily routine. To be honest, the time I get to spend reading books from cover to cover is not as much as I’d like it to be. My reading tends to be very task-focused and specific – driven by the needs of writing a particular research paper or chapter, or updating lectures. So agreeing to this review gave me the opportunity to do something different, to start reading in a different way.

1 8 9 10