Laurie Taylor talks to film director Ken Loach and sociologist Professor Howard Parker about the importance of ethnography, the act of listening to real stories about real lives.
Loach’s latest film Sweet Sixteen is very much a companion piece to Kes (1970). Both films deal with boys trapped in dead-end cultures, bright enough to perceive it and determined to break free.
The period of time between the two films mirrors the work of Howard Parker who, shortly after Kes was released, published a study called View From the Boys.
For that study, Parker virtually joined a group of young school-leavers from the Roundhouse district in Liverpool. They moved between no-hope jobs and petty crime. Throughout the ensuing 30, he has continued to document the changing experiences of British youth, particularly with reference to the impact of drugs on their lives.
Sweet Sixteen is on release around the country in selected cinemas.
Kes is available on video.
A Kestrel for a Knave
Illegal Leisure: The Normalisation of Adolescent Recreational Drug Use
Routledge, an imprint of Taylor & Francis Books Ltd
SPARC: Social Policy Applied Research Centre
Department of Applied Social Science
University of Manchester
Manchester M13 9PL
Tel: (+44) 0161-275 2000
"New Heroin Outbreaks amongst Young People in England and Wales", Crime Detection and Prevention Series Paper 92 - Home Office Police Policy Directorate
Fiona Measham, Russell Newcombe and Howard Parker, "The normalisation of recreational drug use amongst young people in north west England", in British Journal of Sociology Vol 45, No 2, June (1994), pp 287-312
Howard Parker and Fiona Measham, "Pick n Mix: Changing patterns of illicit drug use amongst 1990s adolescents", in " (1994) Vol 1, No 1, pp 5-13, republished in:
Carol Martin (ed)
Dealing with Drugs: A New Philosophy
Institute for the Study & Treatment of Delinquency (London, 1995)
"A survey of drinking and deviant behaviour among 14/15 year olds in north west England", Addiction Research (1995) Vol 2, No 4, pp 319-341
Russell Newcombe, Fiona Measham and Howard Parker, "Drugs Pathways in the 1990s: adolescents decision making about illicit drug use", report for the Drugs Prevention Initiative (1995)
Howard Parker, Fiona Measham and Judith Aldridge
Drugs Futures: changing patterns of drug use amongst English youth
ISBN 0948830239 (1995, reprinted 1996)
Howard Parker and Tim Bottomley, "Rock Cocaine and Drugs Crime Careers", report for Home Office Research and Planning Unit, Home Office Publications Unit (1996)
Perpetua Kirby and Howard Parker, "Methadone Maintenance and Crime Reduction on Merseyside", report for Police Research Group, Home Office. Published Summer, 1996 in Crime Detection and Prevention Series, No 72, pp 36.
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