• Catherine Blaya


At the time of writing this chapter, juvenile delinquency and urban violence are a crucial political issue in France, particularly in the wake of the upcoming presidential elections. Most political parties have been reciprocally criticizing each other for not being able to deal with the issue and for having reduced the police presence in difficult communities. All this political posturing has taken place against a background of xenophobia, fear of terrorism, and social debate. As a matter of fact, the problem has its roots in social exclusion and this is a major issue. During 2003, one third of the generation who were born between 1973 and 1983 were unemployed and did not benefit from any type of job training. This meant that many youngsters (those aged 20–30) were going through an identity crisis and felt stigmatized and excluded from mainstream society. As a consequence, unrest and tension have been growing in our country for the last few years, resulting in a period of urban violence during the winter of 2005/2006.

The youth in France are often considered as dangerous, and collective opinion tends to suggest that they should be dealt with more firmly, particularly in socially deprived neighborhoods (Mucchielli, 2001). The decision makers, be they national or international, do not seem to take into account the results of research and analysis of the causes and processes underlying the emergence of youth violence. Currently, repression, rather than increased attention, is the main approach to dealing with youth problems. This strategy results in building tensions among the youth, particularly among those from socially deprived areas and mainstream society. These tensions are palpable within the school context (Debarbieux et al., 2003). This is why at the European Observatory of Violence in Schools we thought the “International Self Report Delinquency Study” was particularly relevant.


Antisocial Behaviour Delinquent Behaviour Small City Juvenile Delinquency Hard Drug 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Observatory of Violence in SchoolsUniversity of BordeauxBordeauxFrance

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