School of Law

Governing Through Anti-Social Behaviour

October 2007 - July 2009

In this Section:

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

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 supportted the seminar series.

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