FROM INCLUSIVE TO EXCLUSIVE SOCIETY: Nightmares in the European Dram




My task in this essay is threefold: firstly to trace in this paper the transition which has occurred between the Golden Age of the post-War period within the First World to the crisis years of the late-Sixties onwards. It is a moment from modernity to late modernity, from a world whose accent was on assimilation and incorporation to one which separates and excludes. It is a world where, I will argue, the market forces which transformed the spheres of production and consumption, relentlessly challenged our notions of material certainty and uncontested values, replacing them with a world of risk and uncertainty, of individual choice and pluralism and of a deep-seated precariousness both economic and ontological. And it is a world where the steady increment of justice unfolding began to falter: the march of progress seemed to halt. But is a society propelled not merely by rising uncertainty but also by rising demand. For the same market forces which have made precarious our identity and unsure our future have generated a constant rise in our expectations of citizenship and, most importantly, have engendered a widespread sense of demands frustrated and desires unmet.

Secondly I wish to ground the dramatic changes that occurred in levels of crime and in the nature of deviance and disorder in the material changes which occurred within both the spheres of production and consumption, or the transition which, metaphorically at least, has come to be seen as the movement from Fordism to post-Fordism. (See J Lea, 1997) It is important that the lines of causality between changes in work and leisure, the levels and nature of crime, the impact on the crime control apparatus and eventually criminology are made clear, at very least for the reason that criminologists persistently attempt to disassemble them. Thus those of the right frequently attempt to suggest that levels of crime have no relationship to the changes in work and leisure but are rooted in the supposedly autonomous areas of child rearing, drug use or a free floating world of moral values. Whereas, those on the left repeatedly attempt to suggest that changes in imprisonment, patters of social control, the emerging actuarialism etc. are political or managerial decisions unrelated to the problem of crime. Indeed, their critical edge is often based in an overt denial of a relationship. And both left and right tend to downplay the level which their criminology, at least, is affected by the external world outside of the academy.

Lastly, I want to stress how such changes, although occurring throughout the developed world, occur in specific circumstances. The contrast I want to make here is between the material and cultural situation in Western Europe and that in the United States: between the European Dream and the American Dream.

The Compass Fails

Eric Hobsbawm, in The Age of Extremes, pinpoints the extraordinary changes which occurred in the last third of the Twentieth Century. The Golden Age of post-war Europe and North America was a world of full employment and steadily rising affluence, it witnessed the gradual incorporation of the working class into, at least the trappings, of full citizenship, the entry of women more fully into public life and the labour market, the attempt in the United States to create political equality for African Americans. It was an era of inclusion, of affluence and of conformity. But, as Hobsbawm wryly delineates, the Golden Age was followed by the cultural Revolution of the last Sixties and Seventies, with the rise of individualism, of diversity, of a vast, wide scale deconstruction of accepted values. A world of seeming certainty was replaced by one of pluralism, debate, controversy and ambiguity. And whereas social commentators of the early Sixties had bemoaned the conformity of the age, the subsequent years experienced widespread disorder, rebellion and rising crime, despite the continuing increase in average incomes and the most committed attempts to socially engineer a satisfied and orderly society. It was a world where commentators of all political persuasions talk of ‘the compass’ failing, where each of the certain keystones of society: the family, work, the nation and even affluence itself, became questioned and unobvious.

The Golden Age was one where the twin sectors of society: work and the family, fitted together like a functionalist dream: the site of production and the site of consumption, a Keynesian duality of supply and demand both necessary for each other: but underscored by an accepted division of labour between sexes and all heavily underwritten by the ever increasing collateral of affluence. The cars got larger and larger as, indeed, did the kitchens. It was an era of inclusion, of affluence and of conformity. Rebels were without causes, teenagers cut their hair shorter and shorter and dreamt of Dating and High School: the Everly Brothers were on the radio. Social commentators of the time did not complain of crime and delinquency but of conformity and acceptance, Galbraith lampooned The Affluent Society, Vance Packard pilloried The Status Seekers, Reisman talked of the ‘other-directed American’ whilst William Whyte charted the careful suburban lives of The Organisation Man and his wife and family. It was a time when Betty Friedan dared to think "is this all there is?", as she ferried the kids from home to school to guides and back again.

It was a consensual world with core values centring around work and the family. It was an inclusive world; a world at one with itself, where accent was on assimilation whether it was towards wider and wider swathes of society (lower working class, women or youth), or towards immigrants entering into a monocultural society. It was a world where the modernist project was deemed within a breath of success.

The Modernist Paradigm: A World at One with Itself

The modernist project has, over the century, involved the greater and greater incorporation of the population into full citizenship. Such a social contract is based on the notion of a citizenship, not merely of formal rights, but of substantive incorporation into society. In the terms of T H Marshall’s famous essay (1950), citizenship should involve not only legal and political rights, but social rights: a minimum of employment, income, education, health and housing. In these terms, the full employment, high income, economies of the Western World in the post-War period up to the recession, were well on the way to achieving full citizenship for the mass of the population. I am well aware that, in reality, there were considerable pockets of extreme poverty, of the continuing existence of massive social inequalities and of the contradictions that such a welfare society engendered (see Offe, 1984) and of the fact that it was male full employment that was actually being referred to, but this does not concern us here. What is of importance is that the consensual politics of the period quite clearly, and on a bipartisan level, saw society in terms of a social contract enveloping the vast majority of adults. Let us examine the major premises of the modernist paradigm as a discourse relating crime and deviancy to the normal citizenry.

1. Citizenship Resolved: The long march of citizenship is either resolved or is on the brink of resolution. The incorporation of blacks and women into full citizenship in a formal sense of legal and political equality is accompanied by the achievement of social equality for the vast majority of citizens.

2. The Interventionist State: The role of the State is to intervene in order to achieve in a piecemeal fashion social justice as a part of a meta-narrative of progress. It is Keynesian in economics and Fabian in its social policy. The twin pillars of modernity are the Rule of Law and the Welfare State as represented by neo-classicist legal theory and social positivist notions of planning. The State protects and the State delivers.

3. Absolutist Social Order: The vast number of citizens accept the given social order as the best of all possible worlds. Unemployment is low, the level of wealth is the highest in the history of humanity and the average income has annually increased since the War. The social order is viewed not only as just but as obviously in the interests of all, the major institutions of work, the family, democratic politics, the legal system, and the mixed economy are accepted without much question. The rules are seen in absolute terms: they are obvious, clear cut and uncontested. The end of ideology is at hand and Western values represent the end point of human progress.

4. The Rational Conforming Citizen and the Determined Deviant: The vast majority of people are rational and freely embrace the consensus of values. The exceptions are a tiny minority of professional criminals and a larger, but still small, number of criminals and deviants who are determined by psychological and social circumstances. The large scale rational criminality and dissent possible prior to the modern advances in citizenship ceases to exist. No longer is the rational criminal, the spectre which haunts the work of Beccaria, a large scale threat or possibility. People by and large do not choose deviance - they are propelled into it.

5. The Narrow Conduit of Causality: Causality is reserved for those who deviate; explanation for or conformity to absolute rules is, of course, unproblematic - aetiology is after all only necessary when things go wrong. Deviance occurs because of problems located not so much in the present as in the past: the conduit of causality is individualised and sited frequently in the family. The notion of sizeable, socially distinguishable groups occupying identifiable space is replaced by the atomistic individual, a random product of some unusual family background. The dangerous classes of pre-modernity become the individual deviant in modernity; it is not till late modernity that the spatial and social pariah re-occurs with a vengeance in the concept of the underclass.

6. The Assimilative State: The role of the Welfare State is to assimilate the deviant back from the margins into the main body of society. To this end a corpus of experts builds up skilled in the use of the therapeutic language of social work, of counselling, of clinical psychology and allied positivistic disciplines.

Nowhere was such an inclusive society embracing the citizen from cradle to grave, insisting on full social as well as legal and political citizenship, so developed as in the Welfare States of Western Europe: in Germany, France, Scandinavia and the Benelux countries. If the coming decades made the American dreamer fitful and listless, in Europe the events conjured the beginnings of a nightmare.

The Deviant Other in the Inclusive Society

It is a society which does not abhor ‘the other’, nor regard him or her as an external enemy as much as someone who must be socialised, rehabilitated, cured until he or she is like ‘us’. The modernist gaze views the other not as something alien, rather as something or body which lacks the attributes of the viewer. It is lacking in civilisation, or socialisation or sensibilities. It is a camera which is so strangely constituted that it can only take negatives of the photographer.

The deviant ‘other’ is thus:

(a) a minority;

(b) distinct and objective;

(c) constituted as a lacking of values which are absolute and uncontested. Indeed, contesting itself is usually a sign of lack of maturity, sensibility;

(d) deviance is, therefore, ontologically confirming rather than threatening. Our own certainty of values is confirmed by seeing the precariousness of those who lack our standards;

(e) the goal is to assimilate and include these individuals. The discourses both penal and therapeutic are, therefore, of integration. Criminals ‘pay their debt to society’ and then re-enter, the Drug Addict is cured of his or her sickness, the aberrant teenager is taught to adjust to a welcoming society;

(f) the barriers to outsiders are thus permeable: they encourage a cultural osmosis of the less socialised towards the well socialised.

From Inclusive to Exclusive Society

The cultural revolution was followed by the economic crisis: "The history of the twenty years after 1973," Hobsbawm writes, "is that of a world which lost its bearings and slid into instability and crisis" (Ibid, p.403). The two processes, the cultural revolution of individualism and the economic crisis and restructuring of the labour markets of the advanced industrial world, are often conflated but they are distinct. Thus, those on the Left such as David Harvey (1989) tend to stress the economic crisis and use 1973 as the turning point, whereas those on the Right, such as James Q Wilson, stress cultural change and date the turning point earlier. "It all began", he wrote, "in about 1963. That was the year that a decade began to fall apart". (1985, p.15)

Other commentators such as Eric Hobsbawm himself solve the problem by consigning each process to separate chapters without intellectually connecting them together. Yet separate they are: representing radical changes in each of the two spheres of order: that of work and community and, as we shall see, connected in that the changes in each are the responses to the same market forces which transformed the First World in the latter part of the Twentieth Century. The cultural revolution, of course, preceded the economic crisis, as indeed did the rise in the crime rate, which began in most advanced industrial countries before the early Seventies and then continued to rise, albeit often at a greatly augmented rate, as the economic recession began to bite.

If the first moment in the Nineteen Sixties and Seventies was that of the rise of individualism, the creation, if you want, of zones of personal exclusiveness, the unravelling of traditionalities of community and family, the second counterpoises on top of it, lasting through the Eighties and Nineties, involved a process of social exclusion. This is a two part process, firstly, involving the transformation and separation of the labour markets and the massive rise in structural unemployment, secondly the exclusion arising out of attempts to control the crime which arises out of such changed circumstances and the excluding nature of anti-social behaviour itself.

The transition from modernity to late modernity can be seen as a movement from an inclusive to exclusive society. That is from a society whose accent was on assimilation and incorporation to one that separates and excludes. This erosion of the inclusive world of the modernist period, what Hobsbawm calls The Golden Age, involved processes of disaggregation both in the sphere of community (the rise of individualism) and the sphere of work (transformation of the labour markets). Both processes are the result, as we shall see, of market forces and their transformation by the human actors involved. It behoves us here, however schematically, to attempt to spell out the links between changes in market relationships which bring about this shift and which ultimately underscore the changes, conceptions and expectations of citizenship which, in turn, have transformed contemporary developments of criminality and its control.

The most fundamental undercurrent is the familiar, although hotly debated, movement between Fordist and post-Fordist modes of production. Fordism in the post-War period involves mass standardized production, near total male employment, a considerable manufacturing sector, massive hierarchical bureaucracies, a sizeable primary labour market of secure jobs and standardized career prospects, clearly demarcated jobs, corporatist government policies and mass consumption of fairly uniform products. The world of work is parallelled by the sphere of leisure and the family; underwritten by the division of labour between the sexes; the family becomes the site of consumption, the celebration of an affluent lifestyle, the essential demand side of Keynsianism, and presents an ever-expanding array of standardized consumer goods by which to measure individual success and to mark out the steady economic progress of an expanding economy. Such is the consensual world where the core values centring around work and the family present themselves like absolutes and where the modernist project of citizenship seems within a breath of resolution. It is an inclusive world, a world at one with itself, whose accent is on assimilation whether it is towards wider and wider swathes of society (the lower class, women, youth) or towards immigrants entering into a monocultural society. It is a social order which abhors ‘the other’ not as an external enemy as much as something or someone which must be transformed, socialised, rehabilitated into ‘one of us’.

All of this interwoven and buttressed structure was to unfold. If we start with a structure seemingly monolithic and all embracing: its basic elements undergirding and stoutly maintaining the weight of the absolute certainties of biography and aspiration of its members, we end with a world which is more chaotic; its structure begins to unravel, its constituents fragment and the everyday world of its members seems problematic, blurred and uncertain. The major institutions of work and the family no longer provide the cradle to grave trajectories which embrace, engulf, and insure. The strains, always there, between for example inherited wealth and merit, between equality of citizenship and inequality of gender, between formal and substantial equality were contained for a while by the sheer success of the ‘never had it so good’ societies. The seeds of change were already present in the contrast between the primary and secondary labour markets (Harvey, 1989) whilst the rise of an individualism heightened demands for fuller and more developed citizenship as well as registering protest at the lack of equalities inherent in the system. That is a movement both of rising aspiration and thwarted expectation.

The market economy emerging in post-Fordism involved a qualitative leap in the levels of exclusion. The downsizing of the economy has involved the reduction of the primary labour market, the expansion of the secondary market and the creation of an underclass of structurally unemployed. Will Hutton in The State We’re In (1995) describes this as the 40:30:30 society. Forty per cent of the population in tenured secure employment, thirty per cent in insecure employment, thirty per cent marginalised, idle or working for poverty wages. We may quarrel with his proportions but the percentage of the population who are part of J K Galbraith’s ‘constituency of contentment’ (1992) is a minority and ever shrinking. Indeed, the middle classes, once contented, have found their world rendered precarious and transient. The downsizing of the economy involves ‘lean production’ in manufacturing industry with the de-skilling of labour and the stress on the flexibility of the workforce. Secure, skilled work with steady salaries is thus reduced within a firm whilst, at the same time, a considerable proportion of labour is ‘outsourced’ in terms of short contracts to small firms or to freelance personnel. Despite a general shift from manufacturing to service industries, the latter are scarcely exempt from automation. The ‘re-engineering’ of service industries such as banking, communications and insurance involves the use of more and more sophisticated computer software which allows firms to eliminate whole layers of low-level managers and white collar jobs (See Head, 1996). The resulting effect of lean production and re-engineering is to remove a sizeable proportion of middle income jobs and to engender a feeling of precariousness on those previously secure.

If we picture contemporary meritocracy as a racetrack where merit is rewarded according to talent and effort, we find a situation of two tracks and a motley of spectators: a primary labour market where rewards are apportioned according to plan but where there is always the chance of demotion to the second track where rewards are substantially inferior and only small proportions of the track are open to competitors and there is always the chance of being demoted to the role of spectators. As for the spectators, their exclusion is made evident by barriers and heavy policing: they are denied real access to the race but are the perpetual spectators of the glittering prizes on offer.

Yet it is not only that opportunities to the race are available without any but a contingent relationship to talent, the prizes have also become more unequal. For in the recent period income inequalities widen. (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 1995; Hills, 1996) Such a gradient of inclusion and exclusion engenders, according to Edward Luttwak (1995) both a chronic relative deprivation amongst the poor which gives rise to crime and a precarious anxiety amongst those better off which breeds an intolerance and punitiveness towards the law-breaker. Like a pincer on our society crime and punishment stem from the same source. What I am suggesting is that both the causes of criminal violence and the primitive response towards it spring from the same source. The obsessive violence of the macho street gang and the punitive obsession of the respectable citizen are not only similar in their nature but in their origin. Both stem from dislocations in the labour market: the one from a market which excludes participation as a worker but encourages voraciousness as a consumer, the other from a market which includes but only in a precarious fashion. That is from tantalising exclusion and precarious inclusion. Both frustrations are consciously articulated in the form of relative deprivation. The first is fairly obvious, here not only economic but social citizenship is denied and the comparison is with those within the labour market. But the second is less obvious.

Relative deprivation is conventionally thought of as a gaze upwards: it is the frustration of those denied equality in the market place to those of equal merit and application. But deprivation is also a gaze downwards: it is dismay at the relative well-being of those who although below one on the social hierarchy are perceived as unfairly advantaged: they make too easy a living even if it is not as good as one’s own. This is all the more so when those rewards are accrued illicitly, particularly where the respectable citizen is also a victim of crime. It is the way in which cities are constituted that the respectable poor and the ne’er do well live close at hand. That those least able to withstand the impact of crime are the most victimised: that those whose working hours are largest and most poorly paid who live adjacent to those who are without work and live in idleness. The regentrification which has occurred in many European cities has added a further twist to this, for 'chic' by jowl, the wealthy middle class live, in many cases, across the street from the structurally unemployed.

The hard-pressed taxpayer views with alacrity the bottom and top of our class structure. For whereas at the bottom there is perceived scrounging, at the top there is sleaze and seemingly unbelievable bonuses/payoffs to top managers and industrialists. For if the spectators are seen to consume free handouts without competing, the privileged are seen as part of a "winner takes all" culture where prizes are doled out without thought of justification or merit. What a recipe for dissatisfaction! (See Frank and Cook, 1996)

In the large-scale Fordist bureaucracies rewards were fairly standardized between firms and across the nation. Meet a manager with a certain level of responsibility or a skilled electrician at a given level of proficiency and one could guess their income albeit they came from the opposite part of the country. The decline in the primary labour market, the rise in out-sourcing and consultancy work, the development of a massive and variegated service industry makes the development of a genuinely agreed scale of merit difficult. It also makes more mysterious the always occluded sense of why and how anyone is particularly wealthy. The seeming arbitrary distribution of reward is compounded by this lack of standardization to produce what one might call a chaos of reward. Thus this recipe for dissatisfaction is given a further stir of disequilibrium. Precariousness is compounded with a sense of unfairness and a feeling of the arbitrary. Whereas in the Fordist period we had relative deprivation, to be sure, but this involved serried ranks of the incorporated casting envious glances across the visible divisions of reward. But now this fixed infantry of conflict is substituted by the loose cannons of discontent.

The sphere of distributive justice, of merit and reward is thus transformed by the rise of the exclusive society. But let us now turn to the other sphere of order, that of community, and trace how the personal exclusiveness of individualism has its roots in post-Fordism. Here we are concerned more with the arena of consumption rather than production. David Harvey begins his treatise on post-modernity (1989) with a discussion of Jonathan Raban’s Soft City published in 1974, like so many other interesting works, at this point of change, Raban overturns the conventional depiction of the city as the epitome of rationalized mass planning and consumption; the iron cage where human behaviour is programmed, where the mass of humanity it channelled and pummelled through the urban grid of suburbs, downtown, offices, factories, shopping zones and leisure facilities. Rather than being the site of determinacy, Raban sees the city as the arena of choice. It is an emporium where all sorts of possibilities are on offer, a theatre where a multiplicity of roles can be played, a labyrinth of potential social interactions, an encyclopaedia of subculture and style.

What interests David Harvey about Soft City is that the book is

"a historical marker, because it was written at a moment when a certain shifting can be detected in the way in which problems of urban life were being talked about in both popular and academic circles ... It was also written at that cusp in intellectual and cultural history when something called ‘post-modernism’ emerged from its chrysalis ... " (1989, p3)

Urban life was changing carried on a market-driven current of consumerism: the emerging consumer society with its multiplicity of choices, promised not merely the satisfaction of immediate desires but also the generation of that characteristic word of the late Twentieth Century -lifestyles.

The shift from the stolid mass consumption and leisure of Fordism to the diversity of choice and a culture of individualism involving a stress on immediacy, hedonism and self-actualization has profound effects on late modern sensibilities. The Keynesian balance between hard work and hard play, so characteristic of the Fordist period (see Young 1971) becomes tipped towards the subterranean world of leisure. "Modern capitalism", as Paul Willis nicely puts it, "is not only parasitic upon the puritan ethic, but also upon its instability and even its subversion" (1990, p19). Out of such a world of choice, whether it is in the urban emporium or the wider world of cultural communities, people are able to construct identities: although springing from commercial, market forces they are transformed by the human actors. Thus Ian Chambers’ (1986) work on working class youth shows how the consumer culture of the late Twentieth Century allowed young people to create a series of subcultures and styles. And, of course, it was a changing and dynamic youth culture which, in turn, generated of its own accord a constantly new swathe of consumer demands.

Such a transition can be seen reflected in the subcultural theory of the academics. The wooden subcultural actors of American subcultural theorization of the Fifties and early Sixties who passively pursued conventional ends by unconventional means or as rebels without causes merely invented middle standards, became active and creative. Subculture becomes now a site of imagination, of innovation and resistance, and the subcultural theory of the Birmingham school, in particular, fixes on and gladly celebrates this. (See, eg, Hall and Jefferson, 1976 and the commentary in Walton and Young, 1997). Similarly, in cultural studies, Stuart Hall and Paddy Whannel in their survey of The Popular Arts written in 1964 present a popular culture which is commercialised, a mass commodity impressed upon the people yet hinting in footnote and half-realised paragraphs that something seemed to be changing: the Beatles, the pop group explosion which transformed world music. Yet they evocatively quote C Wright Mills’ image of the consumer society:

"In its benevolence, the Big Bazaar has built the rhythmic worship of fashion into the habits and looks and feelings of the urban mass: it has organised the imagination itself." (1951)

By the Seventies the Big Bazaar had become the urban emporium: the new individualism which emerges on the back of the consumer society is concerned with pluralistic choice (it creates freely new subcultural styles bricollaging both from the present and the past), it is concerned with self-actualisation (the individual creates a life-style and a personal identity through choice), it is hedonistic and immediate (the old Keynesian personality involving a balance between work and leisure, production and consumption, deferred gratification and immediacy becomes tipped towards the latter) and it is, above all, voluntaristic (choice is valued, freedom is seen to be possible, tradition is devalued). (See Campbell, 1987; Featherstone, 1985). Such expressive demands augment the instrumental demands for monetary sources and status which are the staple of the modern period. By late modernity the frustration of expressive demands becomes a source of strain in the system and, together with relative deprivation in the material world, a potent source of deviancy. (For early sightings of this phenomenon see D Downes, 1966; J Young, 1971). What is without doubt, is the rise of a culture of high expectations both materially and in terms of self-fulfilment, one which sees success in these terms and one which is far less willing to be put upon by authority, tradition, or community if these ideals are frustrated.

Out of such frustrations arise both positive and negative consequences. The Soft City of Jonathan Raban is soft more in its plasticity than in its kindness:

"The city our great modern form, is soft, amenable to a dazzling and libidinous variety of lives, dreams and interpretations. But the very plastic qualities which made the city the great liberator of human identity also cause it to be especially vulnerable to psychosis ... If it can, in the Platonic ideal, be the highest expression of man’s reason and sense of his own community with other men, the city can also be a violent ... expression of his panic, his envy, his hatred of strangers, his callousness." (OpCit, pp15-16)

There is, as one writer remarked, room for the flaneur but not for the flaneuse. Here we have the paradox of the new individualism. The demise of consumer conformity gives rise to a dynamic, diverse, pluralism of lifestyles. Such a release of human creativity has clearly liberative and progressive possibilities yet each diverse project has the potentiality to contradict and impede each other. Subcultures are frequently in collision: diversity may impede diversity. Discontent about one’s social predicament, the frustration of aspiration and desire may give rise to a variety of political, religious and cultural responses which may open up the possibilities for those around one but they may well, often purposively, close up and restrict the possibilities of others. They may also create criminal responses and these very frequently bear the currency of restricting others. Let me give a couple of examples. The downsizing of the manufacturing base, discussed in the last section, generates relative deprivation throughout the class structure but, in particular, amongst those unskilled workers clustered around the empty factories, on the desolate estates. Although the young women in these areas can find a role for themselves in child rearing and, very often, work in the service sector, young men are bereft of social position and destiny. They are cost adrift; a discarded irrelevance locked in a situation of structural employment not even available to offer the stability of ‘marriageable’ partners (see W J Wilson, 1990). They are barred from the racetrack of the meritocratic society yet remain glued to the television sets and media which alluringly portray the glittering prizes of a wealthy society. Young men facing such a denial of recognition turn, everywhere in the world, in what must be almost a universal criminological law, to the creation of cultures of machismo, to the mobilisation of one of their only resources, physical strength, to the formation of gangs and to the defence of their own ‘turf’. Being denied the respect of others they create a subculture that revolves around masculine powers and ‘respect’.

Paul Willis, in his classic Learning to Labour (1977), traces the way whilst at school in which ‘the lads’ seeing through the irrelevance of their schooling for the labouring jobs to which they are heading construct a subculture of resistance against the school and the wider middle class world. But their reaction to being excluded from the primary labour market, from career, good prospects and a promising future is to rubber stamp their own exclusion and which serves to exclude equally vulnerable others. Thus their subculture or resistance elevates toughness and physical strength to a prime virtue: it is sexist, frequently racist and avowedly anti-intellectual.

Thus the excluded create divisions amongst themselves, frequently on ethnic lines, often merely on what part of the city you live, or, more prosaically (yet to some profoundly), what football team you support. Most importantly, as Willis points out, it creates problems of safety and security for other members of the community, particularly women. They are excluded, they create an identity which is rejecting and exclusive, they exclude others by aggression and dismissal, and they are, in turn, excluded and dismissed by others whether school managers, shopping mall security guards, the 'honest' citizen, or the police officer on the beat. The dialectics of exclusion is in process, a deviancy amplification which progressively accentuates marginality, a Pyrrhic process involving both wider society and, crucially, the actors themselves which traps them in, at best, in a series of dead-end jobs and at worst, an underclass of idleness and desperation.

As our second example, let me turn from a situation where exclusion creates crimes to one where attempts at inclusion are met by violence and aggression. The entry of women into the labour market and their more fuller participation in public life whether leisure, politics, the arts, is perhaps the most profound structural change of the post-War period. Yet this process of inclusion involves, as Ulrich Beck puts it, "erupting discrepancies between women's expectations of equality and the realm of inequality in occupations and the family " of which "it is not difficult to predict ... will amount to an externally induced amplification of conflicts in personal relationships" (1992, p.120). It is not, however, merely the increasing expectations of women but the challenge of these expectations to male preconceptions and the resistance to them which encapsulates the rising conflict. Here, surely, Giddens is right to point to violence being a more frequent occurrence in the family, as in politics, where hegemony is threatened not where patriarchal, or state domination is accepted. Widespread violence is the currency of hegemony breaking down not of hegemony in control. (See Giddens, 1992, pp.121-22) In the case of patriarchy it is where the ability of the man to dictate, without question, the unequal and marginal status of the womenfolk within his family, is challenged and severely weakened. Thus domestic violence increases whilst simultaneously, as Sandra Walklate argues, "women are less likely to tolerate violent relationships ... than they once were" (1995, p.99). Thus the violence which has always occurred in domestic relationships is less tolerated whilst the amount of conflict increases.

It is commonplace to think of violent crime as the product of exclusion, the young men of my first example, but it is important to stress that much violence occurs because of conflicts over inclusion (i.e. of equality and modernity against subordination and tradition). The case of violence against women is a key example, although racist violence is a close parallel. Indeed, Jayne Mooney (1996b) in her research on the social and spatial parameters of violence, points to 40% of all violence in a North London district to be domestic and against women. Violence in these two examples, can occur, therefore, as a result of exclusion and inclusion, and it can be caused by relative deprivation and by clashes among individuals demanding equality and others resisting them. Of course, where both relative deprivation and individualism occur together as in the macho-culture of lower class, young unemployed males when confronting the demands for equality of women, often in poorly paid yet steady employment, one would expect a particularly high rate of conflict often resulting in the preference to setting up homes separately and the preponderance of single mothers. Indeed this latter group have the highest rates of violence against them, usually from ex-partners (see Mooney, 1997). It is ironic to note that a major source of violence in our society stems from an attempt to maintain traditional relationships and occurs within the family, rather than being alleviated by the 'back to basics' philosophy beloved by Conservative politicians.

Table 1

The Vicissitudes of Masculinity: Two Paths to Violence



Economic Precariousness


Ontological Threat



Male Role Diminished


Female Role Equalised



Crisis in Masculinity


Crisis in Masculine Hegemony

Typical Victimisation


Male to Male


Male to Female

Typical Scenaria


Gang Violence


Domestic Violence



Low in Class Structure


Throughout Class Structure

Pluralism and Ontological Insecurity

Up till now I have traced how changes in the economy have given rise on one hand to increased relative deprivation and economic precariousness and on the other hand to a more rampant individualism. But there is a further force for destabilisation and that is the emergence of a more pluralistic society, one in which people's sense of personal security, the stability of their being, becomes more insecure.

As Anthony Giddens graphically delineates, the situation of late modern life is characterised by heightened choice (stemming both from the opportunities of consumption and the flexible demands of work), by a constant questioning of established beliefs and certainties, a raised level of self-reflexivity, a lack of embedded biography and life trajectory and the constant confrontation with a plurality of social worlds and beliefs (1991, pp.70-88). Such a situation breeds ontological insecurity, that is where self-identity is not embedded in our sense of biographical continuity, where the protective cocoon which filters out challenges and risks to a sense of certainty becomes weakened and where an absolute sense of one's normality becomes disoriented by the surrounding relativism of value. Individualism. with its emphasis on existential choice and self-creation, contributes significantly to such insecurity, whilst the pressing nature of a plurality of alternative social worlds, some the result of such incipient individuality, manifestly undermines any easy acceptance of unquestioned value.

The pluralism which the actor encounters can be seen as stemming from three major sources: 1) the diversification of lifestyles which are a result of growing individualism; 2) the closer integration of society, including the narrowing of travelling times through physical space and the implosion of glimpses of other societies and cultures provided by a growing and ever-proliferating mass media. Business, tourism, television, all bring us together; 3) the immigration of people from other societies.(1) In Europe, in the last twenty years, such a pluralism has been pronounced on all three levels: mass immigration has occurred, increased European integration is a palpable fact, however disorganised the political process and limited nature of a common identity (See Melossi, 1996), whilst the process of diversification characteristic of advanced industrial societies has proceeded apace.

Such a situation has considerable effect on our perception of and reaction to deviance. In modernity, as we have seen, the deviant other appears as a distinct, minority phenomenon which contrasts with the vast majority consensus of absolute values which it lacks and, thus, by its very existence conforms rather than threatens. In late modernity the deviant other is everywhere. In the city, as Richard Sennett writes in The Conscience of the Eye, everyone is a potential deviant. The distinct other is no longer present, cultures not only appear plural but they blur, overlap and cross over with each other. Youth cultures, for example, do not form distinct ethnic groupings but are hybrids constituted by bricolage rather than by ethnic absolutism (See Gilroy, 1993; Back, 1996).

In such a situation of ontological insecurity there are repeated attempts to create a secure base. That is to reassert one's values as moral absolutes, to declare other groups as lacking in value, to draw distinct lines of virtue and vice, to be rigid rather than flexible in one's judgements, to be punitive and excluding rather than permeable and assimilative. This process can be seen in various guises in different parts of the social structure. The most publicised attempts at redrawing moral lines more rigorously are the 'back to basics' initiative of the British Conservatives in 1995, which was a replay of the Back to Family Values campaign of the Bush Administration. Lower in the structure this can be seen in the attempt by the socially excluded to create core and distinct identities. Part of the process of social exclusion, as Jimmy Feys (1996) argues, is: the inability "to cast their anchor in a sea of structure prescribed by society" (1996, p.7). That is, social exclusion produces a crisis of identity. And one could point to the policies of such groups as Black Muslims, Fundamentalists in emigré communities, and perhaps even the tawdry traditionalism of supporters of the far right, as an indication of this. That is a reaction to exclusion by heightened commitment to past values, to create imaginary nationalisms where the present precariousness is absent, and, often, to ape the conventional or, at least, some imagined image of it. Lastly, amongst the intelligentsia, part of the process of political correctness involves a decline in tolerance to deviance, an obsession with correct behaviour and speech, and an insistence on strict policing of moral boundaries. (See Moynihan, 1993; Krauthammer, 1993). Whatever the rights and wrongs of such pronouncements - and there is undoubtedly much that is genuinely progressive in such debates, it is remarkable that the self-same strata who expanded tolerance of deviance to the point of recklessness in the Sixties now restrict it like characters from a Victorian etiquette book in the Nineties.

Table 2

The Deviant Other in Late Modernity





Late Modernity





































Constituted Barriers











The Dyad of Crime

The changes, then, in the sphere of production and consumption and their development and reinterpretation by the actors involved have effects both on the causes of crime and deviance and the reactions against it. That is both sides of the dyad of crime.

Table 3


The Dyad of Crime

Sphere of Justice

Sphere of Community

Causes of crime and deviance

Relative deprivation


Reaction to crime and deviance

Material precariousness

Ontological insecurity


The combination of relative deprivation and individualism is a potent cause of crime in situations where no political solution is possible: it generates crime but it also generates crime of a more internecine and conflictful nature. The working class area, for example, implodes in upon itself: neighbours burglarise neighbours, incivilities abound, aggression is widespread. The old style crime of the Fifties, which was to a large extent directed at commercial targets and involved the judicious use of violence to control the 'manors' of each 'firm', becomes replaced with a more Hobbesian spread of incivilities. 'We never harmed members of the public' muttered one of the Kray gang, lamenting the decline in civilised values within the East End of London. Some indices of this is that in the Metropolitan district of London, from 1950 to 1990, burglary and robbery rose from being 6% of all crime to 14% and domestic burglary in 1950 was 40% of all burglary (domestic and commercial), whereas by 1990 it was 66% (Harper et al, 1995).

The contribution of economic precariousness and ontological insecurity is, of course, an extremely inflammable mixture in terms of punitive responses to crime and the possibility of scapegoating. We have already seen Lutwak's discussion of the likely impact of economic precariousness alone, these tenuously included those in the job market against those transparently out of it. Ontological insecurity adds to this combustive situation the need to redefine, less tolerantly definitions of deviance and to reaffirm the virtues of the in-group. It is important, however, to distinguish tendencies from necessities and to specify the precise social scenario where such dynamics will be played out. I will return to this at the end of this essay, but first of all I will document the impact of crime on patterns of exclusion within our society.

Rising Crime and Social Exclusion

I have written extensively on the rise in crime which occurred in the latter part of the twentieth century in most advanced industrial nations and its impact both on the public and on criminological theory itself.

The major motor in the transformation of public behaviour and attitudes, in the development of the crime control apparatus and in criminology, is the rapid rise in the crime rate. This has had profound affects from the perspective of exclusion:

1. On Public Avoidance Behaviour

Rising crime rates fuel public fear of crime and generate elaborate patterns of avoidance behaviour, particularly for urban women. The isolated problem area of modernity becomes an intricate map of no-go zones, of subways and parks to be avoided, of car parks to be navigated and of public space to be manoeuvred. And for many women these possibilities of the day become a curfew at night. (See, eg, Painter et al, 1989). This is not the place to enter into the 'reality' of such fears, let alone to explore what 'realistic' risk calculations might look like; suffice it to point to the exclusion which crime generates and that its impact varies greatly by age, class, gender and ethnicity.

2. On Penal Exclusion

The rise in crime results in an increase in those incarcerated. Of course there is no linear relationship, but the absence of such does not obviate the fact that in the long run prison populations have in most countries risen in a response, perhaps mistakenly, to the need for crime control.(2) Indeed, the seemingly large differences between US and European imprisonment rates are less a matter of politics than actual differences in the crime rates. The frequent mistake here is, of course, to simply look at rates per population: thus James Lynch found that, when levels of crime and seriousness were controlled for, "the extreme differences in incarceration between the United States and several other Western democracies are lessened considerably and in some cases disappear. To a large extent differences in ... incarceration rates cross-nationally are due to differences in the types and levels of crime across countries." (1988, p.196) Significant differences do remain, however, particularly between Germany and the United States, although much less between the latter and England, and these are due to differences in the administration of justice.

In the United States those in prison constitute a significant excluded population in their own right, approaching 1.5 million people are imprisoned, a city which would be as large as Detroit if all were brought together in one place (E Currie, 1996). Furthermore, 5.1 million adults are under correctional supervision (prison, parole or probation), 1 in 37 of the adult residential population (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1996). Indeed, the American gulag is now the same size as the Russian gulag and both contrast with a situation in Western Europe, the total prison population of which is in the region of 200,000 (Council of Europe, 1995).

3. On Exclusion from Public Space

The rise in crime generates a whole series of barriers to prevent or manage crime. Thus we have a privatisation of public space in terms of shopping malls, private parks, leisure facilities, railways, airports, together with the gating of private residential property. These now commonplace precautions are backed by stronger outside fortification, security patrols and surveillance cameras. The security industry, whose very job is exclusion, becomes one of the major growth occupations. The city, then, becomes one of barriers, excluding and filtering, although it must be stressed that such barriers are not merely an imposition of the powerful; systems of exclusion, visible and invisible are created both by the wealthy and the dispossessed. Some of the latter can be as discriminatory as that of the powerful (Ruggiero and South, 1997) but much can be seen as defensive exclusion. For example, within Stoke Newington, the area of London that I live in, one finds gated communities of Kurds who live in constant threat of violence, of Hasidic Jews who face widespread anti-Semitism, there are women only leisure centres, schools with intensive precautions against vandalism, etc. Furthermore, we must remember that the most commonplace physical barrier and by far the most costly are those that we are forced to erect to protect our own houses.


4. Impact on the Criminal Justice System

The rise in the number of crimes results in an increase in arrests which represents a dramatic rise of potential input for the criminal justice system. The reaction to this, like any other bureaucracy, is to attempt to take short cuts and to decrease the possible number of clients. To take short cuts first, an institution like the police faces a growing number of cases per police officer. For example, in England and Wales, despite large increases in personnel, the number of crimes reported by the public per police officer rose from ten in 1960 to forty in 1990. The temptation here, particularly given government pressure to maintain an economic and efficient service, is legitimately to engage in plea-bargaining, illegitimately to engage in corruption (eg by manipulating clear-up figures through 'tic', by fitting up suspects, by ignoring the gap between 'theoretical' and 'empirical' guilt) (See Kinsey, et al, 1986).

But it is the increased selectivity or 'pickiness' with regards to prospective clients which is perhaps of greatest interest. At the level of suspicion the police shift from suspecting individuals to suspecting social categories. For example, in terms of stop and search: it is more effective to suspect those categories deemed likely to commit offences (eg blacks, the Irish, young working class men) rather than to suspect individuals. You trawl in waters with the likeliest, richest harvest rather than take the rather 'pea in a pod' chance of making an arrest by proceeding on an individual-by-individual basis. (See Young, 1995) The old invocation 'round up the usual suspects' becomes transformed into 'round up the usual categories': individual suspicion becomes categorical suspicion.

The criminal justice system itself, from police through to judiciary, when faced by too many offenders and too few places to put them, has to engage in a process of selectivity: to distinguish the dangerous, the hardened, the recidivist from the less recalcitrant offender. The proportion of people sent to prison declines (in England and Wales in 1938, 38% of those committing indictable offences were sent to prison, by 1993 this had fallen to 15%) and the process of selectivity based on risk management increases. Thus, although the overall numbers of prisoners increases, the chance of an offender going to prison decreases. There is little surprise in this, it is a process of expediency rather than leniency. The parallel could be, as the Health Service faces the increasing pressure of patient numbers, hospitals refuse to deal with minor ailments and accidents and attempt to move elderly patients out to nursing homes. Alternative care and alternative medicines, like alternatives to prison, flourish in this predicament.

The impact on the offender of this process of corruption, plea-bargaining and selectivity is to problematise justice. The justice one receives becomes a result not of individual guilt and proportional punishment but is more a negotiated process, the result of political or bureaucratic pressure rather than absolute standards. The chaos of reward encountered in the field of distributive justice becomes echoed in the chaos of punishment occurring within the criminal justice system.

5. The New Administrative Criminology and Actuarialism

The rise in crime and the increase in the number of offenders had a profound effect on the working principles occurring in the criminal justice system and the academic theory occurring within criminology. The widespread nature of crime, its very normality, make the search for causes less attractive. The new administrative criminology openly criticises 'dispositional' theories, rather it explains crime by the notion of a universal human imperfection when presented with the opportunity (Young, 1995). The task is to create barriers to restrict such opportunities and to be able to construct a crime prevention policy which minimises risks and limits the damage. An actuarial approach occurs which is concerned with the calculation of risk rather than either individual guilt or motivation (Feeley and Simon, 1992, 1994; Van Swaaningen, 1997). Both the modernist discourse of neo-classicism and positivism is discarded. We are interested neither in liability nor pathology, in deterrence nor in rehabilitation. The focus is prior to the event rather than after the event, on prevention rather than imprisonment or cure. It is not an inclusionist philosophy which embraces all into society until they are found guilty of an offence and thence attempts to reintegrate them. Rather it is an exclusionist discourse which seeks to anticipate trouble whether in the shopping mall or in the prison and to exclude and isolate the deviant. It is not interested in crime per se, it is interested in the possibility of crime, in anti-social behaviour in general, whether criminal or not, in likely mental illness or known recalcitrance: in anything that will disrupt the smooth running of the system. Such an administrative criminology is concerned with managing rather than reforming, its 'realism' is that it does not pretend to eliminate crime (which it knows is impossible) but, rather, to minimise risk. It has given up the ghost on the modernist aims at change through social engineering and judicial intervention, it seeks to separate out the criminal from the decent citizen, the troublemaker from the peaceful shopper and to minimise the harm that the addict or alcoholic can do to themselves rather than proffer any 'cure' or transformation.

Table 4

Neo-Classicism and Actuarial Criminology






Actuarial Criminology





All Anti-social Behaviour








Actual Event






















Balance of Probability










Damage Limitation/Harm Minimisation






































Public Space


Mass Private Property



























Towards an Exclusive Dystopia?

"We cannot imagine a Europe that continues to be divided, not by the Iron Curtain this time, but economically, into a part that is prosperous and increasingly united, and another part that is less stable, less prosperous and disunited. Just as one half of a room cannot remain forever warm whilst the other half is cold, it is equally unthinkable that two different Europes could forever live side by side without detriment to both." (Vaclav Havel, 1996, p.40)

Are we heading towards a dystopia of exclusion, where divisions occur not only between the nations of Europe, as Havel suggests, but within the nations themselves? Can one part of a room remain forever warm whilst the other half is perpetually closed off and cold? For many authors such a division between worlds has its own inevitability and forms a functioning, if oppressive, whole. Let us look at its components:

1. A Central Core: A sizeable section of the population in full-time work, with career structures and biographies which are secure and embedded. Here is the realm of meritocracy, of equality between the sexes (both partners work), of the stable nuclear family, of a working week which gets longer just as joint salaries get higher. It is here that neo-classicism operates within the criminal justice system just as meritocracy occurs within work and school. It is a world graded by credit ratings and consumer profiling (it is the prime market place after all) but it is, on the face of it, kind and gentle in its relationships where social control increasingly, both in work and leisure, takes on a casual, almost Disney-like aspect. (See Ericson and Carriere, 1994) it is a world where the exigencies of biography are covered fully comprehensively by insurance whether it is from ill-health, accident, job loss or, indeed, criminal victimisation. It is a world which holidays in the Third World outside its custom barriers whilst shunning the Third World enclaves within it.

But it is an ever-shrinking core, the largest growing part of the labour market becomes that of the secondary market where job security is much less secure, where career structures are absent and where life is experienced as precarious.

2. The Cordon Sanitaire

A clear line is created between the core group and those outside by a whole series of measures: by town planning, by road networks which divide cities, by the gating of private estates, by the blocking off of areas from easy access, but above all by money - the cost of public transport downtown, the price of goods in the shops, the policing of the core areas whether it is suburban shopping mall or inner-city development, and whether it involves private or public police, is aimed at removing uncertainties, of sweeping the streets clean of alcoholics, beggars, the mentally ill and those who congregate in groups. It is an actuarial police calculating what is likely to cause disorder and discontent, and moving on the inappropriate rather than arresting the criminal. It is aided by the widespread introduction of CCTV (which in fact is more effective in dealing with incivilities than with serious, planned, crime) and by the enforcement of numerous pieces of legislation to control disorderly behaviour.

3. The Outgroup

The outgroup becomes a scapegoat for the troubles of the wider society, they are the underclass, who live in idleness and crime. Their areas are the abode of single mothers and feckless fathers, their economics that of drugs, prostitution and trafficking in stolen goods. They are the social impurities of the late modern world, whom David Sibley, in his eloquent Geographies of Exclusion (1995), sees as a victim of sanitising and moralising geographies reminiscent of the 19th Century reformers. But unlike the reformers from the late 19th Century, up until the 1960s the goal is not to physically eliminate their areas and integrate their members into the body politic, rather it is to hold at bay and exclude.

Up until the 1980s the word 'marginalisation' is used for such an outgroup, they are the people that modernity has left behind, pockets of poverty and deprivation in the affluent society, but from them a 'social exclusion' becomes the phrase (See J Feys, 1996) encompassing as it does a more dynamic expulsion from society and, most importantly, a decline in the motivation to integrate the poor into society. The neo-liberalism of the late-Eighties and Nineties does not only attempt to draw back the limits of the state, it (perhaps more successfully) allows the limits of civil society to recede. It is not public policy but the market which is seen as their only possible salvation, yet the chances of such an increased labour market is extremely unlikely. This section of the population has a large ethnic minority constitution, creating the possibility of easy scapegoating and of confusing the vicissitudes of class for those of race.

The Future of Exclusion

Of course, all this talk of exclusion might be easily dismissed as a temporary problem. The hopes of both politicians of the Left and the Right often hinge on a return to full employment, to the inclusionist societies of the Nineteen Fifties. Unfortunately it is this nostalgia, however bi-partisan, that is likely to be temporary rather than any long-run change in reality. The future does not augur well for two reasons that I have already touched upon. Firstly, the demand for unskilled and semi-skilled manual labour has contracted in all the countries of the First World. The globalization of capital has meant that the factories of South East Asia can compete much more cheaply than in Europe and North America. The poor are isolated in inner-city ghettos, in orbital estates, and in ghost towns where capital originally led them, then left them stranded as it winged its way elsewhere, where labour was cheaper and expectations lower. This exclusion is on a large-scale, in Will Hutton's estimation it is perhaps 30% of the population (1995) and is a radically different problem from the marginalised pockets of poverty characteristic of the immediate post-War period. Furthermore, the full entry of China into the world economy will create reverberations which will vastly eclipse that of the Asian tigers. Secondly, the introduction of more and more sophisticated computer software will eliminate many lower middle class jobs as well as making many lower rung professional jobs increasingly precarious. The successful company nowadays is one that increases productivity whilst losing workers, not one which increases the size of its personnel. As James Fallows puts it:

"The most important fact about these layoffs is that they result not from corporate failures but from what is defined as success - progress toward a "friction-free" world of the most efficient production and distribution. But they create a society of winners and losers that is unpleasant even for the winners to live in." (1996, p.18)

Yet, on the face of it, it might be difficult to understand how such a dystopian society could maintain itself. How is it possible to contain within its frontiers a permanently dispossessed minority, particularly one which views citizenship, in the broadest sense of social as well as political equality, as a right rather than as something which is achieved? That is a society which holds firm to the values of meritocracy yet denies so many from participation in the race. As I have shown, the actuarial, cordon sanitaire which separates the world of the losers from that of the winners is an attempt to achieve this: to make life more tolerable for the winners whilst scapegoating the losers.

To some extent the dangers and disruptions created by the excluded are delimited. Most significantly is the sporadic rioting which takes place across the First World. In London, Birmingham, Paris and Marseilles, etc. they represent riots of citizenship. They occur constantly with the same pattern: a section of people who are economically marginalised are subject, over time, to stereotypical suspicion and harassment by the police. That is not only are they denied social rights as citizens of access to the labour market on fair terms, they are treated on the streets in a manner which palpably denies their legal rights. (See Lea and Young, 1993) Interestingly the exclusion of the market place is matched by the actuarial exclusion of policing which I have described earlier. A single incident of prejudiced policing usually provides the trigger for the riot itself: which represent quite clearly riots of inclusion compared to race riots, which are of an exclusionary nature, or insurrections where the fundamental aim is to redraw the nature of citizenship.

In terms of targets, however, such riots are invariably contained: they involve the destruction of the local community, the rage is directed implosively rather than explosively. The poor no longer threaten the Gentlemen's Clubs of St James', they terrorise the small shopkeepers of Brixton and Handsworth. Meanwhile, those areas are consumed by what one might call the slow riots of crime, incivilities and vandalism. A world turned in upon itself and, at times, each person against each other. And the actuarial line of differential policing, zoning and crime prevention, helps maintain this, indeed, to the extent that it displaces crime from well protected middle class to less protected lower working class areas, actually increases the problem. (See Hope, 1997; Trickett et al, 1995; Hope 1995) There are limits, however, to such an exclusionary project. This involves, as we have seen, a package with two components: material and cultural. That is an actuarial process of exclusion and risk management coupled with a cultural mechanism of scapegoating: the creation of a spatially and socially segregated deviant other.

But let me first make the distinction between the material and cultural situation in Western Europe and in the United Stated, because there are important differences.

The American Dream and the European Dream

The American Dream has very particular notions both of community and of opportunity. Although the process of exclusion occurs in all developed industrial countries, it is important to stress the exclusionary nature of American ideology when compared to European ideals. In the American Dream the ideal is equality of opportunity: all get a chance to compete in the meritocratic race, but it is the winners who get the prizes and the losers who naturally do not. And losers fail because of individual qualities, it is their fault that they have lost. (See Merton, 1938) The notion of citizenship has, therefore, a strong stress on legal and political equality and much less on social equality. It is a cocktail glass society where social and cultural focus is on the successful and where winners, more and more, take all. (See Frank and Cook, 1996) In a way, then, social citizenship is something to be earned by hard work and forthrightness ('the American way'): it is not a right of citizenship.

In the European Dream, in contrast, there is much greater stress on rights of inclusion. In the post-war settlement the Welfare State stresses that social citizenship is as important as legal or political citizenship. In this race all get rewarded commensurate to their merit, and even those at the end of the race get compensation prizes to allow themselves the basic necessities of life. Failure is seen not so much as an individual fault as a fault of the system.

Such a more ready acceptance of economic exclusion in the United States is backed up by a far greater social and spatial exclusion. The famous Concentric Rings of the Chicago School are a symbol of this symmetry between economic and social exclusion. And, such a vertical segregation is reinforced by a much greater horizontal segregation between different communities even when at the same level of affluence.

The United States is a quite exceptional exclusionary society. The notion of the ethnic segregation of suburban development scarcely causes criticism. Indeed the word 'community' becomes to be used as the singular form of a plural entity and even Amitai Etzioni's (1993) much vaunted 'communitarianism' is not one of integration but of overarching values and shared sentiments. (See also J Q Wilson, 1985) Ironically, Marcus Felson (1994), with rather amusing ethnocentricity, sees the 'divergent' cities of suburban sprawl and segretation of North America as the future when compared to the 'convergent' cities of urban villages and downtown heterogeneity of Europe and the American past (including Manhattan). Indeed he instructs his students to compare Los Angeles with the "old convergent cities of Europe - for example Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen and Stockholm" (p.171). It takes a radical critic such as William Julius Wilson (1996) to point to the need to reverse the levels of suburbanisation and to repair the neglect of city centres characteristic of American cities in order to emulate those of Europe and to obviate the fashion in which deprived groups are spatially isolated.

The public and social policies which, in the United States have allowed unrestricted suburbanisation, the flight from the city and the deterioration of city centres have not, on the whole, been present in Europe. Without such segregation, the ability to give spatial bearings to a distinct underclass is absent as, indeed, is the social setting on a large scale where there is a lack of any reference points to the workaday world. Overall, spatial and social exclusion has not occurred on any of the scale in Europe that it has done in the United States.

With these caveats in mind, let us turn now to the general problems which limit material and cultural exclusion.

The Cordon Sanitaire

The heterogeneity of the city, both in respect of urban dwelling but also in terms of the need to transmit the urban sprawl for reasons of work and leisure, make it very difficult to isolate different populations. Indeed, the city, whether Manhattan, Paris, Barcelona or Rome, is something which is attractive in its own right, where the frisson of difference constantly amazes, bemuses and sometimes alarms: "The rapid crowding of changing images, the sharp discontinuity in the grasp of a single glance, and the unexpectedness of onrushing impressions", as George Simmel put it in 'The Metropolis and Mental Life'. And, as we have seen, the emporium of roles and possibilities is a key attraction of the 'soft city'. The actuarial line, the cordon sanitaire of control, is, therefore, difficult to achieve and perhaps more so in a world which emphasises diversity, pluralism and choice.

But there is another important reason why the cordon sanitaire is unable to protect the 'honest' citizen from crime and disorder. The notion that the criminal is an external enemy out there is fundamentally flawed. Relative deprivation and individualism occurs through the class structure: the existence of widespread white collar crime (see Lea, 1992) and crimes amongst the 'respectable' working class scarcely allows us to cordon off the criminal from the non-criminal. And in terms of violence, as Jayne Mooney has shown (1996b), not only is it widely distributed throughout the class structure, but one half of all violence against men and women occurs in the home. The cordon sanitaire must, therefore, fail because the fifth column of offenders is in the suburbs, at work, or in ones local streets, indeed, the chances of violence are greater from a close friend or member of the family than from a stranger.

The Scapegoating Function

"It might appear that this problem, the subject of this book, has been largely eclipsed by forces which have breached old boundaries and created a world of fractured, hybridised and fused identities. For example, the end of the cold war has rendered a particularly powerful rhetoric which supported a boundary between 'good' and 'evil' redundant. Migrations of peoples and cultures have given the South a much more influential presence in the North than in the past and not just in established cosmopolitan centres like London, Paris or New York. In the academy, post-modern texts have blurred previous subject identities.

I doubt, however, whether these cultural, political and social transformations have really made people less fearful, less concerned about keeping a distance from others, less exclusionary in their behaviour. The world political map in 1994 is replete with new, strong boundaries which are designed to secure cultural homogeneity, and, at the local level, hostility towards outsider groups like New Age Travellers in England and Wales and ethnic minorities in much of Europe is no less acute than it was before 'the passing of the modern world'. The desire for a purified identity, which requires the distant presence of a bad object, a discrepant other, seems to be unaffected by cross-currents of culture which are characteristic of recent global change." (1995, pp.183-4)

David Sibley, in the above quote, makes, I believe, the error of believing the rhetoric of the time for the reality. It is easy to mistake the siren voices of basic values for current melody, but they are singing songs that have long been out of fashion, they celebrate a world which will never return, their very insistence is because of incipient failure, they are signs of a world being lost rather than a hegemony triumphant. It is an irony that it is at the point when widespread exclusion occurs and when the existing system needs to justify itself more that traditional ideology begins to lose its currency.

The ideas become all the more necessary at precisely the point where they become all the more implausible. It is difficult to create the notion of a deviant other where:

a) The size of the problem: crime is so 'normal and extensive a problem that it is implausible to assume that it is all or largely due to an underclass or to immigrants or to a special group of people called 'criminals';

b) The mass media: are only too ready to focus not only on fecklessness at the bottom of the social structure as to sleaze at the top. It would be a naive citizen today who believed that crime and deviance were a monopoly of the lower classes;

c) The causes: are too widespread to be able to allocate them to a particular outgroup. Who does not know a family that has broken up, a single mother bringing up her children, a friend who has become unemployed. In a precarious world it would be a foolhardy person who could not see the possibility that there but for fortune they might be in the same predicament;

d) Lack of segregation: As we have seen, the relative lack of segregation in Europe compared to the United States makes it much less possible to spatially locate an isolated deviant other.

A clear sign of this collapsing hegemony is the phenomenon of moral panics: Angie MacRobbie and Sarah Thornton (1995) have pointed recently to the transformation of moral panics in the late modern period. They point to the following features:

a) frequency: moral panics increase in frequency;

b) contest: they are contested, experts and pressure groups disagree both as to the nature of the panic and, more importantly, if there is a basis of a 'panic' at all, eg the moral panic about single mothers is strongly contested;

c) reflexivity: the notion of moral panics has now entered the vocabulary so that it is common for politicians, journalists and promoters to attempt to set off moral panics;

d) difficulty: moral panics become more difficult to set off, not only that they are contested, but that "the hard and fast boundaries between 'normal' and 'deviant' would seem to be less common" (1995, pp.572-3)

e) rebound: moral panics can easily rebound: even a Conservative press has an avid, commercial interest in examining the credentials of those who claim the moral high ground. Attempts, for example, to go back to the inclusive world of the 1950s lamentably failed. Prime Minister John Major's cabinet, government and then backbenchers were ruthlessly examined by the mass media for basic values and found to be lamentable failures. Mistresses abounded, broken families were commonplace, sexual peccadilloes were scrutinised, the moral panic rebounded back upon itself.


MacRobbie and Thornton pinpoint such changes as a result of the vast expansion and diversification of the mass media. There is no doubt that such a competition for audience has vastly increased the rate at which attempts at panic are made, but we must look to demand as well as supply if we are to understand this proliferation. The level of ontological insecurity of audiences in a pluralistic society make such revelation of deviance followed by reassurance of the limits of normality extremely attractive. Indeed, a plethora of chat shows from Oprah Winfrey to Ricki Lake, tackle daily a host of problems. They attempt to firm up normality in a world which is, as MacRobbie and Thornton point out, increasingly uncertain. The revelation industry is thus coupled with a personal advice and therapy service (see Giddens, 1992).

The Centre Cannot Hold: the Periphery Fragments

Jimmy Feys talks of the process of exclusion resulting in a crisis of identity for the excluded. This is certainly true, but the crisis is not only of those on the edge of society, but those at its core. The ontological insecurity of a plural world, where biographies no longer carry the actors on time honoured tracks and where reflexivity is a virtue, does not allow for any self-satisfaction of place or smugness of being. Nor is there a fixed deviant other out there who grants one certainty by being the reverse of all that is absolutely correct and virtuous. The gaze of late modernity looks at the world seeking the firm and reassuring contours of the other but the gaze wavers, the camera is supposed to produce hard focus but the pictures of the other come out blurred and mosaic, at times some fragments look like pictures of one's own friends and family; the hand steadies resolutely, but the pictures keep on blurring.



I have in this paper traced the transition from an inclusive to an exclusive society. That is, from a society which both materially and ontologically incorporated its members and which attempted to assimilate deviance and disorder to one which involves a great deal of both material and ontological precariousness and which responds to deviance in terms of separation and exclusion. Such a process is driven by changes in the material basis of advanced industrial societies, from Fordism to Post-Fordism and represents the movement into late modernity.

My second task was to root changes in crime and disorder to changes in the material base. The fundamental dynamic of exclusion is a result of market forces which exclude vast sections of the population from the primary labour market and of market values which help generate a climate of individualism. Such a situation has an effect both on the causes of crime (through relative deprivation and individualism) and in the reactions against crime (through economic precariousness and ontological insecurity). The exclusions which occur on top of this primary process are an attempt to deal with the problem of crime and disorder which it engenders. They are often based on misperception but they are a misperception of a real not an imaginary problem. Crime itself is an exclusion as are the attempts to control it by barriers, incarceration and stigmatization. Such processes often exacerbate the problem in a dialectic of exclusion: but the changes which occur in the burgeoning apparatus of crime control are in the long run a response to this predicament. So too are the theories of crime which evolve during this period: the new administrative criminology with its actuarial stance which reflects the rise of risk management as a solution to the crime problem. James Q Wilson's popular zero-tolerance theory of eliminating incivilities in selected areas, Charles Murray's notion of an underclass of single mothers and feckless fathers which gives an ideological bases to exclusion. Thus exclusionist theories occur at times of social exclusion. None of this suggests a reductionism but it insists that there is a strong continuity of influence between the material basis of society, levels of crime, the crime control apparatus and criminology itself.

Lastly, I have heeded the demands of specificity and contrasted the material and cultural situations in Western Europe and the United States. No doubt such contrast is over schematic for the differences within Western Europe are immense, but the constant tendency to generalize from the United States to Europe, without acknowledging the profound cultural differences has to be resisted.

As to the future, the scenario presented by Edward Luttwak is clear, the combination of increased lawlessness and economic precariousness is a formula which could lead to an ever-increasing punitiveness and scapegoating probably with a strong racist undercurrent. The pre-war history of Europe is a grim portent for such a scenario. I have suggested, in this paper, that there is certainly no inevitability in this process, indeed, that there are strong forces which undermine the delivery of a 'successful' exclusionary policy whether actuarial or cultural. It is on these that a progressive politics must be based. In a world where more and more jobs are precarious, where families are frequently unstable, and where there is widespread knowledge of those from other cultures, it is surely not difficult to understand the predicament of the unemployed, to sympathise with the single mother, to empathize with and, indeed, enjoy cultural differences. The creation of folk devils is not facilitated by the late modern world. But what is necessary is a politics which embraces the excluded and those whose positions are precarious. We need a politics which starts at the edges and goes in as far as is palatable (which is a long way) rather than that which starts at the centre and goes out as far as is charitable (which is not very far). The social democratic nostalgia for the inclusionist world of the nineteenth fifties with full (male) employment, the nuclear family, and the organic community is an impossible dream. As our friends from Gent have pointed out (Hofman, 1993; Lippens 1994, 1996) any realism which has as its fundamental agenda the reduction of crime by a return to those times is doomed to failure. The task of devising new forms of community, employment which is not totally dependent on the whims of the market place and new and emerging family structures is another matter which takes us far beyond the remit of this paper.


1. Although it is commonplace to see immigration as they key factor in the formation of more pluralistic societies in the West, I do not think that this is the major influence on the level of pluralistic debate or on ontological insecurity. Indeed many of the values of immigrant cultures are traditional and form little challenge to the diverse values of late modernity. Rather it is the indigenously generated process of diversification which has been at the cutting edge of the new pluralism: witness the debates around women's role, violence, sexual orientation, the environment, animal rights etc. Thus the debate is as acute in Dublin with little immigration as it is in London or Paris. The role of the immigrant is, as argued in this essay, more a scapegoat, an outgroup set up to assuage ontological insecurity rather than a cause of such. (See Vidali, 1996)

2. The mistake here, surely, is that reacting against the empirical fact that there is no simple linear relationship between level of recorded crime and imprisonment, fear of crime and risk of crime, etc. we assert that imprisonment, fear and crime prevention measures are autonomous of crime rates and, hence, caused by other factors (eg displaced anxiety about economic security, urban development, race). Undoubtedly such displacement occurs (indeed is described in detail in this paper) but this certainly does not allow us to eliminate crime itself from the equation. It must be remembered that human actors (whether manning the social control apparatus or citizens walking the streets) are not positivistic creatures who are simply reflexes of risk rates or crime levels. The human capacity is to assess and make sense of the social world. It would be surprising, therefore, if one ever found a simple linear relationship or the high correlations typical of the natural sciences. Let me give two examples: (a) Imprisonment: the response to an increase in crime might be to bemoan the high cost of imprisonment and its ineffectiveness and to enter into a period of decarceration (perhaps involving the diversion of juvenile offenders and a plethora of alternative schemes). This might be followed by a period of punitiveness and increased incarceration as a reaction to the fact that reported crime continues to increase. Such a change of policy would ensure that there is no linear relationship between crime rates and imprisonment but the shifts in policy, the diversion schemes, the number and nature of the alternatives, and the scale and nature of the subsequent prison building programme could not be understood without acknowledging the major influence of the problem of crime.

(b) Fear of Crime: one response by lower working class men in cities to social exclusion is to create a machismo based culture. This involves, as a matter of manliness, a low fear of crime despite a climate of mutual hostility which spills over frequently into crime. Thus a high risk rate is combined with a low fear of crime. Urban women, on the other hand, in the same environment, may become less tolerant to crime, to actively disdain violence, and to demand a better quality of life. This will manifest itself in higher 'fear' (or at least annoyance, indignation etc). Thus two urban groups will develop diametrically opposite reactions to the risk of crime. To complicate matters further, the elaborate avoidance behaviour developed by sections of urban women to tackle crime may lead to lowered risks and allow criminologists to comment how they have unnaturally high levels of anxiety about crime given that their actual risk is low. Thus there is no conceivable way that one could expect a linear relationship between crime and fear of crime in a survey of such an urban population.






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