Counter-Cultural Groups in the Age of Covid: Ravers, Travellers and Legal Regulation

Chris Ashford*, Mark O'Brien

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

The Covid-19 pandemic once again brought into sharpened focus the contested relationships of marginalised groups in the criminal law sphere, and the liminal (re-)regulation of space. Over the course of the last four decades, the law has borne witness to an episodic yet regular intertwining of the fortunes of arguably two elements of Britain’s counterculture: ravers and travellers, specifically ‘new age’ travellers. The two groupings of peoples have had a long, complex and often uncomfortable and fractious relationship both with English law, and also its enforcement agencies. This is perhaps particularly evident in the criminal law provisions and sometimes questionable enforcement of the Public Order Act 1986 and the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, through to the social and environmental provisions of the Caravan Sites Act 1968, Entertainments (Increased Penalties) Act 1990, and subsequent provisions.

Both the groupings of ravers and travellers have been faced with a series of legislative and administrative measures that, directly or indirectly, curtail or otherwise restrict their choices as to activities, lifestyles and behaviours. The article analyses how the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to some long-established legal and regulatory themes being once again played out in relation to these two counter-cultural groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-255
Number of pages15
JournalThe Journal of Criminal Law
Volume86
Issue number4
Early online date9 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022

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