Penalising presence in public space: Control through exclusion of the ‘difficult' and ‘undesirable'

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the last two decades and across a number of jurisdictions, new measures enshrined incriminal law and administrative codes have empowered authorities to exclude unwelcomegroups and individuals from public spaces. Focusing particular attention on recent reformin Britain, this paper traces the evolution of contemporary exclusionary practices, from their initial concern with proscribed behaviour to the penalisation of mere presence. The latter part of the paper offers a critical assessment of what has driven these innovations in control of the public realm. Here consideration is given to two possibilities. First, such policy is the outcome of punitive and revanchist logics. Second, their intentions are essentially benign, reflecting concerns about risk, liveability and failures of traditional order maintenance mechanisms. While acknowledging concerns about the over‐eagerness ofscholars to brand new policy as punitive, the paper concludes that any benign intentions are overshadowed by the regressive and marginalising consequences of preferred solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2017

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence. As an open access journal, articles are free to use, with proper attribution, in educational and other non‐commercial settings.


  • Anti‐social behaviour
  • homeless
  • punitive
  • zoning
  • juveniles
  • liveability


Dive into the research topics of 'Penalising presence in public space: Control through exclusion of the ‘difficult' and ‘undesirable''. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this