Young people in coastal resorts: The regulation and criminalisation of “youthful” behaviour in public space.

Room F
Monday, 31 August 2015
15.15 – 17.00
coastal areas, governance, public space, regulatory state, social exclusion, young people

The governance of young people in public space and on the streets, in particular, is not a new phenomenon. The visibility of young people in certain “spaces” has evoked anxiety over the last two centuries, giving rise to various ways to regulate, control and manage their presence in urban space.

This paper will outline key findings from the ESRC sponsored doctoral research using extracts from interviews and visual data with young people, to reveal how particular constituencies of young people in public space are labelled, controlled, regulated and excluded.

Two coastal resorts, one in England and one in Wales, were consciously chosen to explore how social class frames young people’s experiences and perceptions. By selecting one relatively affluent and one disadvantaged coastal resort, significant differences in how young people were “policed” in public space were revealed. The paper aims to pose some important new questions – in relation, for example, to the differential (and perhaps counter-intuitive) experiences of “being policed” by the two groups of young people in contrasting settings. It will argue how spaces within public space are exclusionary and how this impacts on young people’s engagement within their own locality.

The paper also examines the “problematisation” of young people in public space and the criminalisation of “youthful” behaviour. Exploring the ways in which young people are regulated by the state, police and “others” contributes to wider discussions about the punitive regulation of public spaces and the regulation and criminalisation of “youthful” behaviour in public space.

Sarah Tickle
Liverpool John Moores University
United Kingdom
sarah.tickle [at]

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