Political Socialization, Worry about Crime and Antisocial Behaviour: An Analysis of Age, Period and Cohort Effects

Fear of crime occupies a substantial area of research and theorizing in criminology. Undoubtedly, this work has increased the understanding of the subject. However, despite the breadth and depth of these studies, they tend to treat respondents as if they grew up during periods of similar political and economic character with comparable formative experiences.

The study tests whether the political period in which a cohort ‘came of age’ exerted a meaningful effect on the way in which that same cohort perceived crime and antisocial behaviour over time. Hence, the researchers explore if temporal forces do more than provide a ‘context’ in which to situate public anxiety about crime, questioning if political socialization is fundamental to the development of those emotional responses.

Findings of the study, which was published in the British Journal of Criminology, indicate that political socialization can have a distinctive and enduring impression on public perceptions of crime from childhood into middle age.

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