Collective Socialisation

The University of Groningen has run a study that experimentally confirms the “broken window” theory of policing adopted by Bratton and Guiliani in New York, namely that seeing littering and vandalism around you increases the probability that you will commit a crime. It might seem that our grandmothers were right after all about the importance of a scrubbed doorstep, and that the Boomers were wrong about a neat and orderly neighbourhood being nothing more than the mongering of whited sepulchres.

Another implication might be that the new-fangled right of the vandalising child to be punished in no other way than by its own parents and quite ineffectively was a terrible mistake. For there was once a time when the broken windows that can start the slide to lawlessness and chaos were prevented or avenged by the power of any adult to socialise any child he met in the public space who displayed an acute need thereof. Such an adult knew that the child’s parents would back him up rather than beat him up.

But then so many pre-Boomer adults overreached themselves in this collective-upbringing function, by endeavouring to correct minor sartorial infractions of strange children in the street, that the whole enterprise fell into disrepute and the children developed an immunity.

Posted on August 9, 2011 at 11:33 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink

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