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Embodying youthful vulnerabilities and policing public spaces


Dwyer, AE, Embodying youthful vulnerabilities and policing public spaces, Policing encounters with vulnerability, Palgrave Macmillan, NL Asquith, I Bartkowiak-Theron and KA Roberts (ed), United Kingdom, pp. 47-70. ISBN 978-3-319-51227-3 (2017) [Research Book Chapter]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 The Editors and The Authors

DOI: doi:10.1007/978-3-319-51228-0


Young people are often defined as a vulnerable group due simply to their age and incapacity to protect 'their own interests' (Macklin 2012: 65). Some young people, though, have a considerably more vulnerable and complex status, with many intersecting forms of vulnerability, including age and circumstances, which might be termed needs, adversity, resi­lience or riskiness (Brown 2015). Young people often experience multi­ple, intersecting vulnerabilities at once, not unlike Luna's (2009) layered approach to vulnerability where vulnerabilities can be flexible and acquired depending on status and location. Vulnerabilities can be inher­ent (because of a stage of life or an intellectual disability) or created through individual circumstances (such as being homeless or living in an abusive family environment) (Brown 2014, 2015).

I contend that vulnerabilities can be thoroughly embodied, performed and enacted on bodies and through bodies. My argument somewhat aligns with Harrison (2008: 423) who suggests that vulnerability ought to be conceptualised as 'an inherent and noneliminable aspect of corpor­eal existence', and draws on the work of Butler (2004: 29) who states that vulnerability 'is part of bodily life' (see also Thorneycroft in this collection). Some authors have similarly conceptualised vulnerability in relation to young people, but again the focus is on how bodies perform identities in ways that render the individual vulnerable, and therefore in need of remedy, such as how young gay males embody identities that make them the target of violence (Barron and Bradford 2007). My argument aligns with conceptualisations of embodied vulnerability in which the performances of bodies constitute vulner­ability as a corporeal element of young people's existences, and that bodies are core to these experiences.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:young people, police, public space, vulnerability, embodiment, body
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Criminology
Research Field:Police administration, procedures and practice
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Law enforcement
UTAS Author:Dwyer, AE (Dr Angela Dwyer)
ID Code:114466
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2017-02-15
Last Modified:2018-04-13

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