They Say You are a Danger But You Are Not: Representations and Construction of the Moral Self in Narratives of 'Dangerous Individuals'

South, N (2006) They Say You are a Danger But You Are Not: Representations and Construction of the Moral Self in Narratives of 'Dangerous Individuals'. Deviant Behavior: an interdisciplinary journal, 27(3), pp. 299-328.

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This article is based on an analysis of narratives of 26 offenders with mental health problems living in the United Kingdom. It explores the impact of an ascribed dangerous status and the construction of the self as moral and responsible in response to this label with reference to the literature on denial, deviance disavowal and other “techniques of neutralization” and Goffman's presentation of self. Two dominant strands are identified in relation to the construction of moral self-hood: “Not my fault” and “Good at heart” narratives. “Techniques of neutralization” are widely drawn on, particularly denial of responsibility in the “Not my fault” narratives that seek to explain anti-social behavior with reference to external forces such as a hostile environment inhibiting their ability to control their lives. In contrast, “Good at heart” narratives draw on the essentially good and moral nature of the inner-self. Both are used as evidence of sharing and adhering to moral norms in order to present an acceptable and credible self.

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11 citations in Scopus
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11 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 52004
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1080/01639620600605580
ISSN: 0163-9625
Deposited On: 17 Jul 2012 03:42
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2015 02:25

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