'High-jinks' and 'minor mischief': a study of undergraduate students as perpetrators of crime

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Although there is a growing interest in the victimisation of university students, the issue of student offending has been largely overlooked in the criminology and education literatures. Based on a self-report study of 1215 undergraduate students at UK higher education institutions, this article explores the level and nature of student perpetration of criminal acts whilst at university, as well as students' understandings and rationalisations of their criminal behaviours. Whilst the data show the majority of students to be involved in what can be classed as minor, and often anti-social, offending rather than more serious crime, there was also a sense from respondents that such offences were often an accepted and sometimes expected part of the everyday 'student experience'. The article, therefore, goes on to discuss the extent to which student offending is part of a distinct 'undergraduate habitus', rather than being merely symptomatic of general societal trends of young people and crime. The article concludes by considering what implications this analysis may have for future attempts to address student offending by universities and crime enforcement authorities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes

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