[B]othered Youth: Stop and search, marginalisation and the policing of belonging

Sean Murphy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines the contemporary issues surrounding the nature and impact of policing within disadvantaged communities in England and Wales. It seeks to critically explore how young people’s encounters with the police can have a stigmatising and marginalising effect. The main focus for discussion will be an exploration of the controversies surrounding the current policy and practice issues of ‘stop and search’ police powers (e.g. Police and Criminal Evidence Act, 1984 and Section 60 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, 1994). It introduces the notion of [B]othering to explain how policing can be identified as the embodiment of respectability and acceptability and offers some new insights young people’s lived experiences and their responses to encounters with the police. I shall offer some theoretical thoughts into role of policing as a ‘spatial practice’ (Lefebvre, 1991), within what can be defined as ‘marginal spaces’ (Thompson et al., 2013) to illustrate how it is that certain young people through stigmatisation and the process of ‘othering’ are marginalised and their use of space is regulated and controlled. Importantly, the concept of [B]othered Youth sees the dualistic notions of structure and agency as problematic, and draws upon Evans (2002) concept of ‘bounded agency’ to examine young people’s attempts to make sense of, and to take control their lives. The chapter offers a critical look at policing strategies and questions the effectiveness of methods which are based upon instrumental goals and legal interpretations of ‘stop and search, and concludes by advocating for a policing role which incorporates a more nuanced understanding of youth and recognition of its pastoral and inclusive capabilities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationYouth Marginality in Britain Contemporary Studies of Austerity
Place of PublicationBristol
PublisherPolicy Press
Number of pages0
ISBN (Print)978-1447330547
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2017


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