Thursday, 25 April 2013

Security, respect and culture in British teenagers' discourses of knife-carrying

an article by Marek Palasinski (Based at Department of Psychology, Lancaster University, UK) published in Safer Communities Volume 12 Issue 2 (2013)


The aim of the paper is to provide an overview of English adolescents' views on knife-carrying and offer a potential framework for challenging their implicit tolerance of the phenomenon.

A sample of 25 adolescents from three large English cities (London, Birmingham and Manchester) was interviewed about knife-carrying at seven youth community centers and their narratives were analyzed by drawing on the classical discourse analysis and the concept of narrative repertoires.

The adolescents constructed the social and legal consequences of knife-carrying as normal, trivial and inevitable.

Research limitations/implications
Talking to a stranger with a voice recorder about the sensitive subject of knife-carrying appeared to be problematic, which probably had an inhibitory effect despite the conversational warm-up and assured anonymity.

Practical implications
Cautioning against creating common sense associations between knife-carrying and irresponsibility or deviance, the paper emphasizes the need for the focus on the low controllability and unpredictability of the knife.

The paper presents scholars and outreach workers with an intimate glimpse of how personal responsibility for knife-carrying and its potential consequences could be diminished by removing the agency from the carrier and rhetorically placing it in society.

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