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Familiar strangers, juvenile panic and the British press: the decline of social trust.

Morrison, James


James Morrison


Though we have long regarded our children as subjects of moral scrutiny and concern, rarely have they been treated with such heightened anxiety - or profound ambivalence - as they are in today's Britain. Late-modern childhood, as this book demonstrates, is perceived and portrayed as a state of both innocence and savagery, with juveniles besieged by a barrage of menaces while also presenting potential threats themselves. This ambivalence can be traced back through cultural deposits accumulated down the centuries - from political speeches and pedagogic tracts to folk-tales, children's fiction and visual art. Taken together, they present a continuum of oppositions in portrayals of the young that, in many respects, has remained remarkably consistent through time. As Chapter 2 showed, wide-eyed infants have repeatedly been distinguished from wild-eyed youths, girls from boys, middle-class from working-class (and underclass) kids and one's own from other people's. Moreover, a recurring undercurrent of all these antinomies has been an implicit moral distinction between 'worthy' and 'unworthy' children - and (more often than not) parents and families, too. The file for this record represents only a sample chapter from the whole work, which is available for purchase from the publisher.

Book Type Monograph
Publication Date Mar 23, 2016
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan (part of Springer Nature)
ISBN 9781137529954
Institution Citation MORRISON, J. 2016. Familiar strangers, juvenile panic and the British press: the decline of social trust. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan [online], chapter 6, pages 210-224. Available from:
Keywords Journalism; Media and communication; Youth culture; Crime and society; Youth offending and juvenile justice; Media studies


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