Banished: The New Social Control in Urban America

By Kath Erine Beckett; Steve Herbert | Go to book overview

3
The Social Geographies
of Banishment

Banishment is reemerging in cities across the United States, largely as a response to the “disorder” attendant to homelessness and other social problems, such as addiction and untreated mental illness. These problems were made visible by the socioeconomic and policy changes outlined in chapter 1: rising inequality, due significantly to the decline of the manufacturing sector and the associated stagnation of wages; the weakening of the welfare state; and the large-scale withdrawal of federal support for low-income housing. Policy initiatives that aimed at reducing these problems—the wars on disorder and drugs—did not succeed in reducing overall levels of evident social disadvantage in the streets of America’s cities. Given both gentrification and urban redevelopment aimed at promoting tourism and shopping, the pressure to remove or relocate visible manifestations of these problems has remained intense. In chapter 2, we described how rising attention to what was increasingly described as disorder led first to the civility codes and second to the reemergence of banishment.

We use this chapter to assess banishment in practice. We are interested in exploring whether banishment is used primarily to manage those populations and situations considered disorderly or to deal with more significant criminal threats. The evidence from several data sources lead us to conclude that banishment is used primarily to manage people and situations that bother and disturb— but do not endanger—other urban residents. For example, we find

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Banished: The New Social Control in Urban America
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - Banishment’s Reemergence 23
  • 2 - Toward Banishment- The Transformation of Urban Social Control 37
  • 3 - The Social Geographies of Banishment 63
  • 4 - Banishment and the Criminal Justice System 85
  • 5 - Voices of the Banished 103
  • 6 - Banishment Reconsidered 141
  • Notes 159
  • Selected Bibliography 187
  • Index 199
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