Comparative Youth Justice is the first book to critically reflect on contemporary juvenile justice reform in England and Wales and across various other western jurisdictions including the US, Canada, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, Belgium, Scotland, Japan, Italy and Finland. In doing so, it identifies major international differences in juvenile policy and practice. However, Contemporary Youth Justice is not simply an attempt to document national similarities and differences, but looks critically at how global trends are translated at the local level. This book also examines how youth justice is implemented in practice with a view to promoting change as well as reflection.
Chapter 4: France: The Politicization of Youth Justice
France: The Politicization of Youth Justice
Youth delinquency is what society decides it to be and the concept of the ‘dangerous other’ is often applied arbitrarily (Body-Gendrot, 2002). There is little difference in the way these categories were constructed formerly and the way socially marginalized youth are stigmatized today. Old processes continue to operate; the past may be transformed, but it is not obliterated. Definitions of ‘problem youth’ represent stakes within the fragmented state apparatus and they change according to economic cycles and electoral priorities. For example, in France in the 1980s punitive populism was softened by preventive measures, but since the 1990s policies of social crime prevention have been increasingly challenged by more rigorous orientations on crime control.
A feature ...