Governing Through Anti-Social Behaviour

Anti-social behaviour has become a major focus of political concern and public debate.

The last decade has seen an unprecedented period of intensive activity and regulatory reform designed to tackle anti-social behaviour (ASB), which has seen the introduction of various new powers, tools and initiatives.

Yet there has been little engagement and dialogue between practitioners and researchers about the evidence base for, and effectiveness of, many of the recent reforms.

In this light, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded a series of research seminars designed to bring together researchers and practitioners to discuss and exchange views on research findings and their implications for good practice.


Journal Articles

  • A special Issue of Criminology and Criminal Justice 9(4) was published in November 2009 on 'Urban Safety, Anti-social Behaviour and the Night-time Economy'. Guest editors: Adam Crawford and John Flint.
  • A Special edition of Social Policy and Society 9(1) is due to be published in January 2010 on 'Disciplining Difference'. Guest editors: Judy Nixon and David Prior.

The purpose of the ESRC research seminar series was to bring together findings from contemporary practice and empirical research on the use and impact of diverse anti-social behaviour (ASB) interventions.

It sought to facilitate an interdisciplinary and inter-organisational dialogue between academic researchers, practitioners and policy-makers about how research can best inform practice, and visa versa, in ways that facilitate lesson-learning and problem-solving across the UK.


Its central aims were:

  • To bring together research evidence from contemporary studies of anti-social behaviour and its regulation in a systematic and cross-cutting forum.
  • To draw insights and experiences from practice and innovation, and exchange findings and experiences, as well as emerging ideas, innovations and insights.
  • To draw comparative lessons from within and between parts of the UK, as well as European and other international experiences.
  • To facilitate a dialogue and exchange between researchers, practitioners and policy-makers, notably regarding the scope for evidence-based policy in the field of anti-social behaviour'.
  • To map the recent emergence of new modalities of control introduced to address concerns about individual and group behaviour in public places and to locate these developments within historic, socio-political and cross-cultural contexts.
  • To explore the use and implications of different mechanisms for governing anti-social behaviour, notably in the fields of housing, education, parenting, crime control and urban policing, drawing upon the most contemporary evidence from empirical research and experiences from practice.
  • To develop novel and refined interdisciplinary conceptualisation of governance through anti-social behaviour in a variety of settings.
  • To foster inter-disciplinary cross-fertilisation, knowledge transfer and networks of researchers and practitioners.

A total of over 120 researchers and practitioners attended and contributed to the meetings, with a core group of some twenty to thirty delegates who participated throughout.

Delegates heard over forty formal presentations and benefited from the input of ten international speakers on experiences outside the UK.

Reserved places at each meeting were allocated to representatives from the National Community Safety Network and a number of early career and PhD researchers. A national steering group supported the seminar series.

  • ESRC Seminar Series: Situating Anti-Social Behaviour and Respect

    22 April 2009 | Great Hall, King's College London | Conference

  • ESRC Seminar Series: Comparative Experiences of Governing Anti-Social Behaviour and Disorder

    18 September 2008 | University of Leeds | Seminar

  • ESRC Seminar Series: Diversity and Anti-Social Behaviour

    5 June 2008 | University of Birmingham | Seminar

  • ESRC Seminar Series: Anti-Social Behaviour, Urban Spaces and the Night-time Economy

    17 April 2008 | University of Leeds | Seminar

  • ESRC Seminar Series: Governing Anti-Social Behaviour through Schooling, Parenting and the Family

    16 January 2008 | University of Brighton | Seminar

  • ESRC Seminar Series: Anti-Social Behaviour in Housing and Residential Areas

    15 November 2007 | Sheffield Hallam University | Seminar