Lord Scarman on Crime in Britain.

Essay by chellebabe1971University, Master's June 2003

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Q1.What are the key features of Lord Scarman's analysis of the riots?

Lord Scarman produced a report in 1981 based on the riots in Brixton and other areas and the underlying causes behind them. He believed that many young people in Britain, black and white, faced living in impoverished conditions with little scope for bettering themselves causing them to hit out in frustration. Many raised in one parent family situations, on welfare and failing the educational system then go onto achieve very little success in the job market. Black youths in particular faced the added burden of racism 'much of it hidden and some of it unconscious and unintended' they lived within inner city areas with few recreational facilities also lacking the support from parent and authoritative figures. Some had little to do and therefore search for an outlet in order to feed their boredom.

They would often come into contact with the police whom they saw as 'their enemies' with poor relations between them, their lack of belief in the Police themselves believing them to be harassing and pursuing them based solely on their colour. Scarman also believed that rioting was a way of getting a message across through media attention in order to bring to light the difficulties that young black people suffer in society.

Q2.What does Lord Scarman mean by the term 'alienation'? Compare this use with Robert Merton's discussion of 'anomie' found in Chapter 4, Reading 4.

When Lord Scarman used the term 'alienation' to describe young black Britons at that time his beliefs mirrored that of Robert Merton theory of 'anomie' based on the deprivation they suffer. Merton based his theory on 'relative deprivation' and equalities in society causing some to deviate from...