Social Control Mechanisms In Australia

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There are social control mechanisms in Australia that have disproportionately targeted young people and their use of urban and public space. The objective of this essay is to examine a specific social control mechanism, the move-on laws, and its lopsided deployment on young individuals; and to draw attention to its exceptional targeting of other vulnerable group in society. Firstly, social control mechanisms are defined in terms of two prominent examples, ‘hostile architecture’ and security guard’s interventions. Secondly, the move-on laws in Australia are shown to target young people disproportionately, in terms of the framework of risk management and ‘moral panic’. Finally, this essay shows how the laws also disproportionately target another…show more content…
Generally, shopping compounds are open to the public (White 1997, 32), however individuals’ movements may be subjected to certain control management within the complex. For instance, a study of 400 young people in the United Kingdom’s shopping malls has found that nearly half (46%) of the study respondents had been asked to move on, predominantly by security officers (Matthews et al. 2000, 284, 289). Apart from the authority to direct individuals to leave the site, security guards in shopping centres may also conduct a bag search and question individuals. In a Finnish study, as many as 29% of youth aged 15-16 years old had experienced interventions that include of direction to move along, bag search and questioning (Saarikkomäki and Kivivuori 2016, 834), with the most typical intervention occurred when guards have suspected young people of shoplifting (2016, 831). These interventions have impacted young individuals and their freedom as users of that space. Therefore, social control mechanisms described through the examples above are understood in its ability to exclude and intervene with people’s movements, in particular the movements of young…show more content…
For instance, a Queensland study on the ethnicity of young people moved on has found that Indigenous background represent the 37% of respondents, despite the fact that Indigenous youth only accounts for the 4% of Queensland youth population (Spooner 2000, 27). This over-representation may be resulted from the ‘moral panic’ framed in our society and ideal to govern the risk in our society. According to White (1999, 39), the greater surveillance and intervention of Indigenous young people in public places is due to their high levels of contact with the criminal justice system. The overrepresentation of indigenous people in the criminal justice system may cause their generalisation as a greater threat for public order compared to others in society, which may lead their representation as ‘moral panic’ and the increase in community’s anxiety of this group. The use of police move-on powers can be understood as a response of the society’s generalised fear of indigenous youth, and thus as Armstrong contends ‘the management of risk becomes the management of public fears’ (2004, 113). Therefore, within the group of young people, the Indigenous population, are subjected to greater impact of police powers on their mobility in the public

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