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Emotional and behavioural responses to everyday incivility


Phillips, T and Smith, P, Emotional and behavioural responses to everyday incivility, Journal of Sociology, 40, (4) pp. 378-399. ISSN 1440-7833 (2004) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2004, SAGE Publications.

DOI: doi:10.1177/1440783304048382


Although antisocial behaviour has become an issue of political and policy concern, social science lacks basic information on such events. This article explores one aspect of such everyday incivility - how people react emotionally and behaviourally to the badly behaved stranger. Mainstream criminology, as well as the social theory of Goffman and Bauman, is oriented around a fear/avoidance vision. This dominant paradigm is unnecessarily restrictive on intellectual inquiry. A raft of other options including anger/intervention; disgust/aversion and indifference/do nothing are analytically reconstructed from the classical social theory of Durkheim, Elias and Simmel. These various models are applied to incidents coded from the transcripts of the Melbourne Everyday Incivility Project. The results show that emotions and behaviours tend to pair up as predicted. Fear/avoidance, however, is a relatively uncommon response to incivil encounters. Anger/intervention and indifference/do nothing are more frequent. The former is especially associated with events where the respondent is a ‘victim’, and the latter with those where the respondent is an onlooker. These findings suggest the limitations of current criminological research in areas related to incivility and fear of crime, and have implications for collective efficacy, social capital and broken windows criminology.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:emotions • everyday life • fear of crime • incivility • social theory • strangers
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Other culture and society
Objective Field:Other culture and society not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Phillips, T (Dr Timothy Phillips)
ID Code:30076
Year Published:2004
Web of Science® Times Cited:36
Deposited By:Sociology and Social Work
Deposited On:2004-08-01
Last Modified:2010-06-18
Downloads:1 View Download Statistics

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