Youth & Media Part 3: How The Media Created The ASBO Culture

Using the three processes of Moral Panic (mentioned in Part 2), how did this generate and grow throughout a nation? Massive interest in crime and criminals is not just a recent phenomenon. This has been demonstrated throughout history from other subcultures such as Mods, Rockers, Skin Heads and Punks. All of whom were categorized as deviant to generate a fear from the public. It is important for the Media to create these “sub-cultures” for youths to associate themselves to. Sub-cultures are created when a society holds middle class values which can’t be obtained by youths; this is how strain theory is created leading into what could be a reason people commit crime. Cohen says that youths will substitute a set of “Oppositional Values”. For values such as ambition, respect for authority, courtesy, politeness and refrain from aggressive behaviour. The youths generally look to betray and adopt behaviours that violate the hegemonic principals. This is the foundation in which the sub-cultures are built upon, the only variables are which morals they wish to retain, adapt or discard. Music and dress style also play a key role in establishing which group one belongs to. This could be interpreted by the media to say that a particular group of people partake in certain activities, for example Anti-Social Behaviour.

The label “ASB” has simply been invented by politicians and the media to describe a loose collection of neighbourhood problems. This is predominantly aimed at the youth, the people who don’t really have a voice or at least a voice that’s heard or taken seriously. The media developed a contemporary obsession with Anti-Social Behaviour in Britain. Reports regarding ASBO’s in the media increased frighteningly. It was reported that 5,500 people have been jailed for breaching an ASBO since they were introduced in 1999. This demonstrates that a large number of stories in the paper since then have been devoted to Anti-Social behavior and the demonization of youth following the process. It was easy, the fact that keeping the definition of Anti-Social Behaviour as vague as possible it also made it easier to claim successes. With the rise in stories of ASBO’s reported coupled the character and profile of the Chav created this informed the public which members of society carried out ASB and what “they” commonly looked like. The ASBO Culture had now been created.

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