Anti-Social Behaviour among Homeless People: Assumptions or Reality?

Harding, Jamie and Irving, Adele (2014) Anti-Social Behaviour among Homeless People: Assumptions or Reality? In: Anti-Social Behaviour in Britain: Victorian and Contemporary Perspectives. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 155-165. ISBN 9781137399304, 9781137399311

[img] Text
Harding, Irving - Anti-Social Behaviour among Homeless People.docx - Accepted Version

Download (54kB)
Official URL:


Historically, the visible engagement of homeless people in activities considered to be ‘anti-social,’ such as drunkenness and begging, have made them the target of government action on public disorder; engendering antipathy, as much as sympathy, from policymakers, key regulators and the wider public. Governments have long been keen to blame increases in homelessness on individual failings, resulting from wilful idleness and dangerous criminal/anti-social tendencies, with policy responses underpinned by the principles of enforcement and exclusion, rather than care and support. During the period 1997 to 2010, the New Labour governments demonstrated a more nuanced understanding of the causes of homelessness, giving increased recognition to the importance of factors beyond the control of the individual. At the heart of government policies towards homelessness was the idea of balancing rights with responsibilities. However, even under this more ostensibly sympathetic approach, concerns to tackle social exclusion among homeless people existed in tension with a perception that their anti-social behaviours needed to be addressed. Following a historical discussion of the key interventions designed to tackle wilful idleness and anti-social behaviour among homeless people, this chapter will focus on policy developments since 1997. It will then draw on recent empirical research in the North East of England, where data collected from homeless people and relevant stakeholders challenged the popular assumptions which have often underpinned policy responses to homelessness. It is argued that such policies have often produced counter-productive effects; reinforcing exclusion and increasing the likelihood that homeless people will be involved in further anti-social acts.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: L200 Politics
L300 Sociology
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2015 14:31
Last Modified: 12 May 2021 11:18

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics