Governance through publicity: Anti-social behaviour orders, young people, and the problematization of the right to anonymity

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Since the early twentieth century, young people under eighteen involved in legal proceedings have been granted a degree of protection from the glare of media publicity. One controversial consequence of recent reforms of the anti-social behaviour order (ASBO), however, is the incremental reduction in the anonymity rights available to those subject to the mechanism, together with calls by the Home Office for details of such individuals to be publicized as a matter of course. Numerous commentators have criticized the government accordingly for reinstating the draconian practice of 'naming and shaming'. This paper contends that these developments can be usefully analysed through the lens of Foucault's work on state governance. It explores, in particular, how challenges to the right reflect both the fall of anonymity and the rise of publicity in the governance of what I term 'ASBO subjects', together with the communities in which they live, under 'advanced liberal' rule. © 2007 Cardiff University Law School.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-373
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Law and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007