Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) has rapidly become a key issue for the government. It was recently given central place in the 2004–2008 Home Office Strategic Plan, the Prime Minister being prompted to describe, in broad ideological terms, his government's ‘crusade’ against the anti-social within a ‘new consensus’ on criminal justice. Yet ‘ antisocial behaviour’ is often treated as if it were something new; a unique aspect of late modernity. Typically neglected are both the history of the concept itself and alternative understandings of the young, often disadvantaged, people who are the most frequent recipients of the ‘anti-social’ label. The article develops a critical analysis of the political and ideological significance of the problematization of ASB and the criminalization of social policy associated with enforcement driven ASB strategies.
- criminal justice