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Access_open ‘We Do Not Hang Around. It Is Forbidden.’

Immigration and the Criminalisation of Youth Hanging around in the Netherlands

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2016
Keywords Criminalisation of youth hanging around, culture of control, immigration and discrimination
Authors Thaddeus Muller
AbstractAuthor's information

    The focus in this article is the ‘criminalisation’ of youth hanging around with the emergence of bans on hanging around. A critical social constructivist approach is used in this study, which draws predominantly on qualitative primary data collected between the late 1980s and 2010s. The article compares indigenous with immigrant youth, which coincides with, respectively, youth in rural communities and youth in urban communities. This study shows that there is discrimination of immigrant youth, which is shaped by several intertwining social phenomena, such as the ‘geography of policing’ – more police in urban areas – familiarity, sharing biographical information (in smaller communities), and the character of the interaction, normalising versus stigmatising. In further research on this topic we have to study (the reaction to) the transgressions of immigrant youth, and compare it with (the reaction to) the transgressions of indigenous youth, which is a blind spot in Dutch criminology.


Thaddeus Muller
Thaddeus Muller, Ph.D., is senior lecturer at the Lancaster University Law School.
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