Decoding Disorder: On Public Sensitivity to Low-Level Deviance

19 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2010

See all articles by Jonathan Jackson

Jonathan Jackson

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Methodology

Emily Gray

University of Sheffield

Ian Brunton-Smith

University of Surrey - Department of Sociology

Date Written: March 10, 2010

Abstract

Neighborhood disorder refers to those cues in the environment that signal to observers first a weak social order, second the erosion of shared commitments to dominant norms and values, and third the failure of authorities to regulate behaviour in public space. Our study links public sensitivity to disorderly cues - i.e. differential tolerance to environmental aspects like graffiti and young people hanging around in public space - to fear of crime, concerns about collective efficacy, and anxieties about long-term social change. We propose a reciprocal process in which perceived disorder shapes fear of crime and fear of crime heightens public sensitivity to disorderly cues. We conclude with the idea that 'seeing' disorder and 'fearing' crime exacerbate public concerns about social norms and moral breakdown.

Keywords: neighborhood disorder, fear of crime, collective efficacy, social trust

Suggested Citation

Jackson, Jonathan and Gray, Emily and Brunton-Smith, Ian, Decoding Disorder: On Public Sensitivity to Low-Level Deviance (March 10, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1567953 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1567953

Jonathan Jackson (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Methodology ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+0044-207-955-7652 (Phone)

Emily Gray

University of Sheffield ( email )

Bartolome House
Winter Street
Sheffield, S3 7ND
United Kingdom
44 114 222 6832 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.shef.ac.uk/law/staff/academic/egray

Ian Brunton-Smith

University of Surrey - Department of Sociology ( email )

United States

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