Young white British men and knife-carrying in public: Discourses of masculinity, protection and vulnerability

Marek Palasinski, Damien Riggs

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    9 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Whilst quantitative research to date gives us some indication of the prevalence at which knife-carrying occurs among young British men, there have been few explanations for why it occurs, and for what the relationship might be between broader social issues of control and power and the behaviours of young men themselves. Drawing on interviews with 16 young white British men, the present paper explores the ways in which the sample accounted for knife-carrying. Two interpretative repertoires were identified: (1) attributions of blame to authorities for a lack of protection and a subsequent justification of knife-carrying, and (2) discussions of masculinity in relation to knife-carrying. The findings suggest that what is required are policy and practice responses that take into account the symbolic functions of knives for young white men, and which recognise the dilemmatic bind that such men are caught in when they attempt to negotiate competing demands of protection and control.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)463-476
    Number of pages14
    JournalCritical Criminology
    Volume20
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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