Jock Young – A Tribute

I have been rather saddened recently to learn of the death of Jock Young. An academic who gave so much to the world, I wish to share the impact I feel he had on both the general academic world and my own.

Most students of sociology and criminology know Jock Young best for his work on social exclusion and crime and his early use of the idea of the term moral panic.


I remember reading Jock Young’s (1999) book ‘The Exclusive Society: Social Exclusion, Crime and Difference in Late Modernity’ during my second year of undergraduate study. Broadly, the book charts societal change over 30 years from a inclusive, homogeneous society to an exclusive society of division and change. A society where blame is apportioned to vulnerable sections of the community and society. I admit that it took me a while to get to grips with the content, but when I did I liked the fact that his work brought me to think of society and crime in a different light. I also remember being encouraged to read Jock Young’s (1973) article ‘The Myth of the Drug Takers in the Mass Media’ in which Young made reference to the ideas of moral panic.

For me, however, the biggest influence on my academic work, particularly in my Masters research, was Young’s work on cultural criminology. Cultural criminology is a theoretical and methodological approach to the study of crime ad deviance. It is different from other theoretical approaches as it views crime and the corresponding agencies and institutions of crime control as cultural products/cultural constructs. (To see more information regarding cultural criminology, please click here to be taken to a webpage created by the academic leaders of the cultural criminology movement). As a result ethnographic and media (image and film) use are favoured in research by the approach. I was introduced to cultural criminology through a third year assignment. I read his work in a joint publication titled ‘Cultural Criminology: An Invitation’ (By Ferrell, Hayward and Young (2008)). As a result of my reading, I decided to use images in my Masters dissertation to aid my research (to see the post discussing my research please click here).


For me, and I’m sure for many other students of criminology and sociology, Jock Young is a big influence in academic work and life, and influence which I think will continue for years to come.

Feel free to comment if you would like to share how Jock Young’s work influenced you in your work or views.


Ferrell, J., Hayward, K. and Young, J. (2008) Cultural Criminology: An Invitation. Sage: London.

Young, J. (1973) ‘The Myth of the Drug Takers in the Mass Media’ in S. Cohen and J. Young (eds) The Manufacture of News: Deviance, Social Problems and the Mass Media. Constable and Co: London: 315-322

Young, J. (1999) The Exclusive Society: Social Exclusion, Crime and Difference in Late Modernity. Sage Publications: London


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