Anxieties about modernization, local conditions and fear of crime

Helmut Hirtenlehner, Stephen Farrall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In Contemporary European criminology, there is a growing understanding of the fear of crime as the consequence of, and a Code for, broader social anxieties, the origins of which are usually traced to fundamental social and global transformation processes characteristic of late-modernity. Within the large body of papers published on this topic one can differentiate between two distinct perspectives: a generalized insecurity approach, according to which free-floating, amorphous anxieties about modernization are directly projected onto crime, and an expanded community concern approach, whereby abstract anxieties about social change require the prism of local conditions in Order to convert into fear of crime. Here, these two perspectives are examined on the basis of survey data from Austria. The results provide Support for both approaches, with slight advantages for the generalized insecurity model. Questions are raised pertaining to the generalizability of the findings and then a truly comparative research agenda is outlined which is open to the idea that pathways into fear of crime may differ from country to country, depending on the socio-cultural and political-institutional make-up of that society.

Translated title of the contributionAnxieties about modernization, local conditions and fear of crime
Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)93-114
Number of pages22
JournalMonatsschrift für Kriminologie und Strafrechtsreform
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012

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