by Laurent MUCCHIELLI – january 2006
Laurent MUCCHIELLI is a researcher with the CNRS. He teaches at the University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines and heads the CESDIP. His work concentrates mainly on juvenile delinquency and interpersonal violence. The present study was conducted in collaboration with Rachel Pédejouan, statistician and student at the University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines.
The theme of « violence » now occupies a central place in French society, both as fear, as complaint, and as a controversial subject and the object of public policies. In the context of a disenchanted world, lost credibility of the elites, precarious living conditions for a growing fringe of the population, the development of a process of ghettoization and the decline of any solidarity other than within families, the future has become uncertain and for many people, frightening. Consequently, it is hardly surprising to hear one fraction of the population, encouraged by media sensationalism and political demagogy, express strong feelings of insecurity which go far behind their (personal or family) experience of victimization, for one thing, and for another, which they developed before some forms of violence came into existence.