Securitizing Childhood Childhood and Youth in Finnish Crime Prevention Programmes

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 5:30 PM
Room: Booth 52
Oral Presentation
Timo HARRIKARI , Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki, University of Helsinki, Finland
Several international analyses of criminal justice and social policy have revealed an increased focus on children and young people during the past decades. One of the key characteristics of the recent interest has been a new concerned tone, even with signs of moral panic. This type of public interest originates from the turn of social policy in the US and UK in the 1970s and 1980s, leading to a punitive turn in youth crime policy, to the rise of the risk agenda and, in general, to the intensification of formal social control towards children, young people and families with children.

The described transformation has expanded into a wide-scale international phenomenon, albeit one that varies from one state to another. The developments have also touched the Nordic welfare states. Consequently, the presentation addresses the issue of how children and young people are constructed and governed in Finland’s crime prevention and securitizing programmes and projects. The analysed data consists of abstracts and appraisals of 88 local securitizing programs.

The results of the analysis suggest that, in many ways, the programmes reflect a post-recession situation in Finnish society. Children and young people are dominantly positioned as ‘risks’ or as ‘exposed to risks’ and the goals and means of the programmes are connected with intensifying their control. The results suggest that the status of security speech and crime prevention technologies within the entity of governing childhood and youth require critical consideration.

The presentation is based on the article published in Youth Justice in April 2013.