chapter  2
32 Pages

Working-class criminology

ByJock Young

Those who have wished to emphasize the sober constitutional ancestry of the working-class movement have sometimes minimized its more robust and rowdy features. All that we can do is to bear the warning in mind. We need more studies of the social attitudes of criminals, of soldiers, and sailors, of tavern life; and we should look at the evidence, not with a moralizing eye ('Christ's poor were not always pretty'), but with an eye for Brechtian values - the fatalism, the irony in the face of Establishment homilies, the tenacity of self-preservation. And we must also remember the 'underground' of the ballad-singer and the fair-ground . . . for in these ways the 'inarticulate' conserved certain values - a spontaneity and capacity for enjoyment and mutual loyalties - despite the inhibiting pressures of magistrates, mill-owners and Methodists (E. P. Thompson, 1968, pp. 63-4).