Reclaiming the Street: The Discourse of Curfew

M H Matthews, M. Limb, Mark Taylor

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


The 1998 Crime and Disorder Act enables local authorities to put in place local street curfews for children aged under 10 years. The Act has been fuelled by discourses which present a vision of a society escalating towards lawlessness and moral decline. Curfew orders are grounded on the exclusionary principles of control and deterrence. We argue that the case for curfews is much less clear than recent policy documents suggest. Evidence based upon a large-scale study points to a more positive role of streets in the lives of young people than is acknowledged in current discussions. We propose that curfew does not offer a way forward: for young people it reinforces a sense of power-lessness and alienation and for adults it establishes a positionality which further dislocates young people from their world. Throughout the curfew debate there has been no attempt to incorporate the views of young people. We propose that, instead of curfew, what is needed are inclusionary strategies which encourage the incorporation of young people into communities, empower their voices in environmental decisionmaking, and challenge the hegemony of adulthood upon the landscape.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1713-1730
Number of pages17
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 1999


Dive into the research topics of 'Reclaiming the Street: The Discourse of Curfew'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this