Asocial not anti-social: the 'respect agenda' and the 'therapeutic me'
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The promotion of respect in society, like the concern about anti-social behaviour, engages with issues that on the one hand are relatively small or insignificant — dropping litter or not saying ‘thank you’, for example. The ‘ASBO (Anti-Social Behaviour Order) agenda’ in the United Kingdom has been criticised for its authoritarian dynamic — especially by those on the left. However, even for critics there appears to be an uncertainty about the nature of behaviour today and a certain sense that there are some real problems to be addressed. Some, for example, believe that we are living in a ‘culture of greed’ — a belief that raises questions not only about capitalism and consumerism, but also about the very nature of relationships between people — indeed about the nature of people themselves. This chapter argues that there are some new problems to address today, but that the problem we face is ultimately not one of an anti-social society but of an asocial society. It looks at Tony Blair's ‘Respect Agenda’ and the politics of behaviour, along with the so-called therapeutic me.
RightsThis is a pre-copy edited version of a chapter published in ASBO nation: the criminalisation of nuisance. Details of the definitive published version and how to purchase it are available online at: http://www.policypress.co.uk/display.asp?k=9781847420275. Published version © Policy Press.
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