Risk Factors and Pathways into and out of Crime, Misleading, Misinterpreted or Mythic? from Generative Metaphor to Professional Myth

By Haw, Kaye | Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, December 2006 | Go to article overview

Risk Factors and Pathways into and out of Crime, Misleading, Misinterpreted or Mythic? from Generative Metaphor to Professional Myth


Haw, Kaye, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology


The purpose of this article is to explore how the notions of risk factor research and pathways into and out of crime have attained the status of professional myth. The argument it puts forward is not about the rights or wrongs of policy or practice based on risk factor research. Partly this is because it is not written by a criminologist but by a researcher interested in ethnographic work with young people and their local communities. Neither is it primarily an argument about the truthfulness or falsehood of myths. Rather, it is a discussion of how a model has moved from being a generative metaphor to a professional myth. In making this argument the article offers a critique of the complex relationship between the values and beliefs of practitioners and their interactions with the discourses, ideologies and structures around them. In arguing that 'pathways' has moved from a generative metaphor (Schon, 1993) to professional myth the article explores how myths function socially within different groups of professions, and the relationship between their social function and individual use. This argument is in part derived from an exploration of the cultural status of any given myth within a profession and the metaphors that underpin them. The discussion of the process of mythmaking, and its impact on professionals is illustrated principally through an analysis of the narratives offered by two different professionals working with young people.

**********

This article is a view from the outside looking in. It is written from the perspective of a researcher working ethnographically within urban communities interested in issues of identity and how practitioners respond to the discourses around them. It is not written by a criminologist with an extensive knowledge of the literature generated in this field. The aims of the article are threefold. First, to argue that the notion of the pathway as a means of explaining young peoples' engagement in criminal and deviant behaviour is increasingly problematic as it has gained mythic status. Second, to argue that the failure to recognise the notion of the pathway as ideologically marked and mythopoeic (Flood, 2002) means that it has become part of a disabling rather than enabling discourse. Third, to argue this has repercussions for how young people, like those from Urbanfields that participated in this research, are treated in the criminal justice system.

To achieve these aims the discussion firstly traces the movement between the risk factor model and the notion of the 'pathway' as a 'generative' metaphor to its becoming a part of the belief systems of different communities of practice concerned with young people and deviancy. From here the article explores how the notion of the pathway has attained the status of professional myth as these groups seek to resolve the dilemmas they are faced with in their everyday practice. This is not an argument fundamentally with the world of risk factor research or the models that have sprung from it. Nor is it an argument based around myth as speech acts or sense making practices, although mythical language is commonly used as a linguistic device and shortcut (Barthes, 2000). Instead the perspective I want to take on myth is similar to that adopted by anthropologists like Douglas (1966) who use the notion of taboo and taboo breaking and link these to notions of deviance and breaking cultural norms. From this perspective the argument presented in this article concerns the 'sacred' aspect of empirically based knowledge and the way the work becomes taken up and used.

The last sections of this article use the data generated by the research to illustrate the argument that the pathway metaphor has achieved the status of ideologically marked conventional wisdom and has attained mythic status. This, it is argued, is to the detriment of the work ethics of some professionals and the young people they work with.

From Model to Metaphor

In the 1960s Becker wrote about the 'deviant career'. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Risk Factors and Pathways into and out of Crime, Misleading, Misinterpreted or Mythic? from Generative Metaphor to Professional Myth
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.