Politics, Punitiveness, and Problematic Populations: Public Perceptions of 'Scroungers', 'Unruly' Children, and 'Good for Nothings'

Vickie Barrett, Emily Gray, Stephen Farrall

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This book speaks to those interested in topics related to punitiveness and public attitudes to crime and punishment. Punitiveness has been the focus of increasing criminological attention in recent decades. This book extends this focus by taking a multi-disciplinary approach to examining punitiveness in the criminal justice system, the welfare system, and the education system in British society today. In doing so, this study uses new survey data (n=5,781) applying ordinal and linear regression and structural equation modelling to examine the relationship between public punitiveness towards ‘rulebreakers’ and political values. This is explored through assessing punitive attitudes towards the treatment of i) school pupils who break school rules, ii) towards the treatment of benefit recipients who fail to comply with the rules, and iii) towards people who break the law. It examines the relationship between political attitudes (neo-conservative values, neo-liberal values), nostalgic values (social, economic, and political), and public punitive attitudes towards the three rule-breaking groups. This book’s appeal may extend to an interdisciplinary audience including welfare, education, and social policy disciplines.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan, Cham
Number of pages379
ISBN (Electronic)9783031274770
ISBN (Print)9783031274794, 9783031274763
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2023


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