Villains provides a rare insight into local and family traditions of petty crime. It looks at attitudes to crime and law enforcement in the community, and the relationship of those attitudes to the culture in which they are expressed. In an entertaining and illuminating account based on participant observation and extended interviews, Janet Foster examines the transition from adolescent street crime to adult `hidden economy' crime. She also looks at the marked difference in women's involvement in lawbreaking, and explores how deviancy is linked to the social construction of gender.

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