Thatcherism, Crime and the Legacy of the Social and Economic ‘Storms’ of the 1980s

24 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2017

See all articles by Stephen Farrall

Stephen Farrall

University of Sheffield

Will Jennings

University of Southampton - Division of Politics & International Relations

Emily Gray

University of Sheffield

Colin Hay

University of Sheffield - Department of Politics

Date Written: June 2017

Abstract

Using insights from the classical sociology of deviance and social structure (notably Durkheim and Merton) we explore the enduring impact of the social and economic changes which started in the UK in the early 1980s. In the two subsequent decades the UK went through a period of radical economic restructuring, leading to lasting social change. We seek to gauge the effect of these combined social and economic processes, which we label social and economic ‘storms’, at the national level. In so doing we assess, and ultimately defend, the heuristic utility of this conceptualisation, considering the extent to which such social and economic storms (individually and collectively) weakened bonds between individuals, within and between families, and across communities. We use proxy measures of economic and social changes in combination with recorded crime statistics to explore the degree to which such processes might be associated with victimisation rates. We find that crime was related to these macro‐level ‘storms’, although ultimately they were driven by economic variables. Our analyses show how political decision making can shape long‐term trends in crime rates.

Keywords: Thatcherism, crime trends, the New Right, anomie theory, politics and crime

Suggested Citation

Farrall, Stephen and Jennings, Will and Gray, Emily and Hay, Colin, Thatcherism, Crime and the Legacy of the Social and Economic ‘Storms’ of the 1980s (June 2017). The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice, Vol. 56, Issue 2, pp. 220-243, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2981373 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/hojo.12202

Stephen Farrall (Contact Author)

University of Sheffield ( email )

Crookesmoor Building, Conduit Road
Sheffield S10 1FL
United Kingdom

Will Jennings

University of Southampton - Division of Politics & International Relations ( email )

Bldg 58, Rm 3079
Southampton
United Kingdom

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

Colin Hay

University of Sheffield - Department of Politics ( email )

Elmfield, Northumberland Road
Sheffield S10 2TN, S10 2TU
United Kingdom

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