McMahon, Gráinne (2014) True story! The new world order and young offenders’ narratives of change. In: Troubling Narratives: Identity Matters, 19th - 20th June 2014, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK. (Unpublished)

This paper explores the narratives of 21 “persistent and serious young offenders” as they move through the youth justice process and attempt to stop their offending behaviours. Drawing upon Maruna’s (2001) work in “Making Good”, the paper discusses the ways in which young offenders construct complex and evolving narratives about their pasts, presents, and desired futures; employ common narrative devices to make sense of their stories; and follow similar narrative forms in which redemption and identity change are central to their process of desistance. The paper also explores the system in which these narratives are embedded and argues that the increasingly punitive, managerial and control-based “new penology” (Feeley and Simon, 1992) of the young justice system is incongruous with, and neglectful of, the narratives of the young people in its charge. Finally, the paper questions the place (if any) of young offenders’ narratives and changing identities within a “culture of control” (Garland, 2001), and considers discourses of “normality”, and dominant narratives around “acceptable” behaviour, alongside the dynamic, revisable and contextual narratives of young offenders.

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email