CFP: LABELLING THE DEVIANT: Othering and exclusion in Britain from past to present

CFP: LABELLING THE DEVIANT: Othering and exclusion in Britain from past to present

Throughout the ages, different labels have been applied to those who are regarded as a threat to the prevailing value system and social order of British society. From the so-called ‘dangerous classes’ of 19th century London (see Bailey, 1993) to the ‘underclass’ of contemporary Britain, composed of ‘chavs’ (Jones, 2011) and ‘hoodies’, a whole range of groups have been subject to labelling which has set them apart from mainstream society and portrayed them as being somehow ‘deviant’. Their deviance or ‘otherness’ is often linked to:
· geography (from the ‘rookeries’ of Dickensian London to the ‘sink estates’ of contemporary Britain)
· clothing (from the cloth cap to the ‘hoodie’ or the Burberry baseball cap)
· speech (from cockney rhyming slang to ‘Jafaican’ English)
· religion (from Catholicism and dissenting Protestantism to Islam)
· ethnicity (for example, Muslims have replaced the Irish as the new ‘suspect community’ in Britain today – see Hillyard, 1993; Pantazis & Pemberton, 2009)
· immigration status (from fears of Irish immigrants – see Engels, 1845 – to the contemporary panic about ‘illegal’ immigration)
· gender (from 19th century female ‘larrikins’ to the ‘ladettes’ of today)
· age (from the Mods and Rockers – Cohen, 2005 – to contemporary hip hop culture)
· class (from the dangerous classes to the underclass – see Murray, 1996)
These different indicators of ‘deviance’ are not of course indivisible but tend to be interlinked, often tied together by common perceptions of social class or race. For example, the term ‘chav’ is linked not just to the working class but also particularly to youth, to a particular style of dress, to ethnicity (white) and to a particular way of talking. Those who are targetted by these labels are associated with a whole range of social problems such as illegitimacy, unemployment, poor parenting, welfare dependency and crime. They are thus depicted as a threat to society as a whole, as the ‘enemy within’, responsible for creating what David Cameron might term the ‘broken society’.
A special online edition of the peer-reviewed Revue Française de la Civilisation Britannique (to be confirmed) will seek to address a number of questions:
1. How have these labels evolved throughout time? What continuities/departures can be identified?
2. How are these labels used and by whom? The role of politicians, the media, the intellectuals and think tanks, for example, is of interest.
3. What are the consequences of labelling? What social and political consequences are likely to result? To what extent are these labels responsible for the creation of social divisions and social exclusion, for example?
Please send abstracts of approximately 300 words and a short biography to Emma Bell ( or Gilles Christoph ( by 6th January 2014. Articles of between 7 and 15 pages (notes and references included) must be submitted by 1st May.
Bailey, V., ‘The Fabrication of Deviance?: “Dangerous Classes” and “Criminal Classes” in Victorian England’ in Rule, J. and Malcolmson, R. (eds.), Protest and Survival: The Historical Experience, London: Merlin Press, 1993.
Cohen, S., Folk Devils and Moral Panics, London: Routledge, 2005.
Engels, F., The Condition of the Working Classes in England, Leipzig, 1845.
Hillyard, P., Suspect Community: People’s Experience of the Prevention of Terrorism Acts in Britain, London: Pluto Press, 1993.
Jones, O., Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class, London: Verso, 2011.
Murray, C., ‘The Emerging British Underclass’ in Lister, R. (ed.), Charles Murray and the Underclass : The Developing Debate, London: IEA Health and Welfare Unit, Choice in Welfare n° 33, 1996.
Pantazis, C. and Pemberton, S., ‘From the “Old” to the “New” Suspect Community: Examining the Impacts of Recent UK Counter-Terrorist Legislation”, British Journal of Criminology 49(5) 646-666.
Welshman, J., Underclass: A History of the Excluded 1880-2000, London: Hambledon Continuum, 2006.

Résumé de l’appel en français
L’étiquetage du « déviant » : altérité et exclusion au Royaume-Uni d’hier à aujourd’hui
Ce numéro de la Revue Française de la Civilisation Britannique (à confirmer) cherchera à analyser les processus d’étiquetage de la « déviance » au Royaume-Uni dans une perspective historique. La notion de déviance est comprise ici dans le sens le plus large du terme, associé à tous ceux qui se situent à l’écart des normes de la société dominante par leur provenance géographique, leur style vestimentaire, leur accent, leur religion, leur ethnicité, leur genre et leur âge… L’altérité est associée à tout un éventail de problèmes sociaux tels que l’illégitimité, l’incompétence parentale, le chômage, la dépendance vis-à-vis de l’aide sociale, la criminalité, voire le terrorisme. Ceux qui sont considérés comme « autre » sont souvent présentés comme l’ennemi de l’intérieur, tenus pour responsables d’avoir créé ce que Cameron appelle la « société brisée ».

Les articles présentés dans la revue auront pour but d’étudier les questions suivantes :
– Comment est-ce que ces étiquettes ont évolué à travers l’histoire ? Quelles sont les points de continuité/de rupture ?
– Comment est-ce que ces étiquettes sont utilisées ? Dans quel but ? Par qui ? Le rôle des leaders politiques, des intellectuels et des think tanks sera tout particulièrement intéressant.
– Quelles sont les conséquences politiques et sociales de l’étiquetage ? Dans quelle mesure peut-il créer ou exacerber des divisions sociales, par exemple ?

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