Public perceptions of childhood criminality

Allison James, Christopher Joseph Jenks

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


This paper begins with the Jamie Bulger murder in Britain in late 1993 and sets out to examine the sociological contexts of the waves of shock and reaction that were manifested in the public perceptions of this event. Traditional conceptions of the child through modernity and their social and moral implications for generating a particular view of innocence and dependency are considered as providing the baseline from which childhood today appears to drift. Public reaction is analysed in terms of mass media content, against a general ignorance of the actual child's point of view. The paper concludes with the broader idea that images of childhood have become closely aligned with expectations of social integration and any fracture of one subsequently threatens the other.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-331
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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