The Developing Habitus of the Anti-Social Behaviour Practitioner: From Expansion in Years of Plenty to Surviving the Age of Austerity



Specialist anti-social behaviour units are common within social housing providers, with many established in response to the policies of the New Labour governments of 1997–2010. These units now find themselves operating in a different political and financial environment. Following the English riots of 2011, the Coalition government, whilst imposing budgetary cuts across the public sector, called on social housing providers to intensify their role in tackling disorder. This article explores the habitus or working cultures within anti-social behaviour units post-New Labour. It does so through empirical research conducted in the aftermath of the English riots. The research finds that practitioners view their work as a core function of social housing provision. They have developed an understanding of human behaviour, which crosses the criminal and social policy fields with a wide skillset to match. A number of factors including national policy, community expectations, and multi-partnership engagement influence their dynamic working culture.