The aesthetics of anti-social behaviour

Millie, Andrew (2014). The aesthetics of anti-social behaviour. In: Pickard, Sarah ed. Anti-Social Behaviour in Britain: Victorian and Contemporary Perspectives. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 102–111.



From the late 1990s onwards, anti-social behaviour has been high on the political agenda in Britain. Of course, at the end of the twentieth century, anti-social behaviour was nothing new, a fact highlighted in other contributions to this volume. Yet, following pressure on MPs from constituents facing difficulties with people labelled as ‘neighbours from hell’ (Straw, 1996; Field, 2003) — and influenced by American zero-tolerance policing strategies (Millie, 2009b) — the 1997–2010 New Labour government made anti-social behaviour one of its key policy targets. Being anti-social was defined by New Labour as behaving ‘in a manner that caused or was likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons not of the same household as [the perpetrator]’ (Crime and Disorder Act 1998: s. 1(1 a)). As has been well documented (Ashworth et al, 1998; Ramsay, 2004; Millie, 2009b), there were issues with such a vague definition. In the first instance, what causes me harassment, alarm or distress may be quite different for someone else. Deciding what or who ‘was likely’ to be anti-social was even more subjective and problematic.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions