Governing through risk : exploring the maltreated child as a potential delinquent

Rayment, Cassandra A. (2008) Governing through risk : exploring the maltreated child as a potential delinquent. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


This thesis examines risk as it applies to children and youth. Specifically, this thesis examines the way that risk enables the governance of child and youth populations. The central argument of this thesis will be that risk creates the maltreated child as a potential delinquent. There is a vast body of literature which has examined a perceived relationship between child maltreatment and juvenile offending. On this basis, a high level of risk has been ascribed to the maltreated child in terms of their potential to engage in criminal and antisocial behaviour. This argument is positioned as a claim of truth, with the truth being that maltreated children are more likely to engage in juvenile delinquency than nonmaltreated children. It is this concept and this truth claim which forms the catalyst for the investigation in this thesis. The underlying assumptions of this thesis are derived from a governmental framework, based on the work of Foucault (1991). This states that the mentality of government comprises of three main factors, political rationalities, governmental programmes and technologies of government (Rose and Miller, 1992). This thesis argues that positivism can be understood as a political rationality, that legislation can be viewed as a governmental programme and that statistics can be conceptualised as a technology of government. Overall, the results of these three analyses combine to demonstrate the powerful ways in which risk is used to position the maltreated child as a potential delinquent. Consequently, it is established that risk is crucial to the ways in which children and youth find themselves targets of governance.

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ID Code: 16693
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Carpenter, Belinda & Tait, Gordon
Keywords: child abuse, maltreatment, juvenile offenders, delinquency
Department: Faculty of Law
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Cassandra Aleisha Rayment
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 04:08
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:51

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