Vigilance and vigilantes: thinking psychoanalytically about anti-paedophile action.
Theoretical Criminology, 7(2) pp. 163–189.
This paper applies a psychoanalytic approach to the protests of members of `Residents Against Paedophiles' on the Paulsgrove estate in Portsmouth, UK, in August 2000. It sets these in the context of the strains existing in the British government's policy on sexual offenders. It is argued that the protests demonstrate the existence of links between a vigilante state of mind and the `mind of state' that makes community members responsible for crime management. Evidence is provided by the protesters' fabrication of a `mental list' of convicted sex offenders that mimicked the official register. The paper concludes that access to information does not always have the effect of containing adults in such a way that enhances their capacity to act as `responsible' citizens.
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