Some thoughts on 'antisocial behaviour' and classism

During the UrbSol discussion on twitter, I used the term 'antisocial behaviour' in a conversation about whether or not a ban on drinking alcohol was an infringement on human rights. 

@joanl (who happens to be my mum, and a very experienced youth/community worker) commented that the term 'antisocial behaviour' was both classist and agist - that definitions of anti-social behaviour we largely used to confirm - and legislate in favour of - middle class, middle aged norms, and behaviors that the working classes and youth consider perfectly normal and unthreatening were squashed, or forced into out-of-the-way places because of those notions. 

Which reminded me of this interview with the MP (member of parliament) for Falkirk, Eric Joyce. Eric was in the new recently because he got drunk in the House Of Commons bar and got into a fight. He was expelled from the Labour party, though is still an MP, and he did a very revealing interview for Channel4 about his past, the altercation in the House Of Commons, and perhaps more revealingly, about his thoughts on how working class people should be allowed to solve their differences with a mutually agreeable fight, if that's their choice… Brings up some interesting thoughts about how we perceive (or as Dan was reminding us, 'frame') our approach to certain behaviours… 

here's the interview, with a text overview and video (if the video isn't viewable where you are, let me know and I'll see if I can find another version…) 

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1 response
I totally agree that it's both classist and ageist. In most part of Euorpe, or at least in Scandinavia, there is no equivalent to the term ”anti-social behoviour”. I'm my eyes it pretty much refelcts the relationships between agegroups and social classas in the U.K at the moment.

I think the debate around anit-social behaviour is a key to understanding the recent riots, originating from the general publics approach to young people from a certain social background: These people are expected to conform. But very few peopole actually conform to fit into public spaces - you conform to fit into more specific social contexts. So if your role in the public space is not acknowledge, but actually frowned upon, you will either avoid this public space permanently or rise up against it.