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The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (7th edn)

Alison Liebling, Shadd Maruna, and Lesley McAra
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date: 22 May 2024

p. 56726. Security and everyday life in uncertain timeslocked

p. 56726. Security and everyday life in uncertain timeslocked

  • Ian Loader,
  • Richard Sparks,
  • Ben Bradford,
  • Ryan Casey,
  • Evi Girling
  •  and Gosia Polanska


What crimes and security concerns trouble differently-situated groups of people today? What demands for action do these prompt from different authorities? To what extent are contemporary insecurities mediated through people’s sense of place and attendant feelings of belonging? The field of criminology used to be confident that it knew how to answer these questions and had a paradigm—‘fear of crime’—within which to investigate and theorize them. That paradigm was always unstable. But over recent decades it has been thoroughly dissolved by the sheer range and scale of technological, cultural, economic and political transformations —from the Great Crash and its aftermath, to the digital revolution, Brexit and the rise of nativist populism, #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter, the gathering climate crisis, and the legacies of the COVID pandemic, to name only a fraction of the concerns that bear upon people’s everyday lives. We are currently investigating these questions of in/security in everyday life by revisiting an old research site, Macclesfield in Cheshire, and an old study, Girling et al., Crime and Social Change in Middle England (Routledge 2000). In this paper, we sketch the changing landscape that bears upon the question of how to theorize and investigate in/security in everyday social relations today, and consider the intellectual resources that we need to marshal if we are to understand the hopes, fears and fantasies that are in play when people think, deliberate and act in response to the question—What does it mean to be and feel secure in Britain today?

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