Stephen trained as a sociologist at the University of Surrey and worked for a number of universities before taking up his current post of Professor of Criminology in the Centre for Criminological Research at the University of Sheffield. Stephen is well-known for his research into why people desist from crime, and the fear of crime. More recently, however, he has been engaged in a series of British Academy and ESRC-funded projects which have sought to unpack the long-term impacts of Thatcherite social and economic policies on crime and the criminal justice system. With Emily Gray, he has recently started to analyse data from the National Child Development Study and the British Birth Cohort Study with a view to assessing the impact of ‘Thatcherism’ on lives of two cohorts of people born in 1958 and 1970. He tweets on this work on Thatcherism using the @Thatcher_Legacy handle.
Plenary title: Crime, Politics and Inequality: Exploring the Long-term Impacts of 'Thatcherism'
In this talk I will summarise the key findings from a recently-completed ESRC-funded project which explored the long-term trends in crime in England and Wales, and which sought to understand these trends in terms of political decision-making in the 1980s and since. Having reviewed our findings as they relate to economic management, housing policies, social welfare programmes and education policies, I will outline a new three year ESRC-funded project which started in April 2017 and which will explore the life-courses of two groups of men and women born in 1958 and 1970. These two cohorts were respectively 21 and 9 years old when Margaret Thatcher was first elected Prime Minister in 1979, and were 32 and 20 when she left office in late-1990. This project will assess the degree to which the policies pursued by the governments led by Thatcher and later John Major (1990-1997) may have altered the life-courses of these two generations, and in so doing, shaped their experiences of crime. The wider intellectual project seeks to forge greater links between our understanding of politics and crime, and between specific social and economic policies and crime rates, as well as encouraging a wider historical exploration of crime (and responses to crime).
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