Research Student: Peter Traynor
Pathways into and out of knife use: young people’s motivations, rationales and experiences of carrying/using knives.
Concerns about youth violence are nothing new but contemporary fears about knife use in Britain appear grounded in some genuinely worrying trends, including growing numbers of young people carrying knives (Lemos, 2004); increases in fatal stabbings (Home Office, 2009) and the emergence of a US style gang culture in Britain's urban centres. Despite this, little research is directed at the issue and current information is limited. 'Official' data such as police statistics and crime surveys provide some evidence as to the nature and extent of knife use, but varies in quality and coverage (Royal Armouries, 2007:1.1). Furthermore, the voices of those engaged in such activities tend to be marginalised in the climate of fear that surrounds such issues. Eades et al (2009: 7) found 'relatively little detailed information on knife crime: who is committing it, who is suffering it, the reasons for it and the best ways of reducing it'. Silvestri et al (2009) suggest research on young people's attitudes, experiences and motivations should be a priority whilst a report for the Royal Armouries (2007) argues that qualitative research on factors that result in young people carrying and using knives might be 'of great significance' in designing effective responses (ibid: 5.8).
The over-arching aim of the proposed study is to explore and understand young people's pathways into and out of knife use. The project will aim to: 1) Develop and build on a rudimentary model of young people's pathways in and out of knife use; 2) Site knife use within its broader social and sociological context; 3) Place an explanation of knife use alongside that of other weapons and violent behaviours more generally. 4) Consider situational that contribute to knife related violence and violence more broadly.