Living on the edge: Juvenile justice work as a form of edgework

James Herbert, Brian Stout, Ann Dadich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article considers how the concept of edgework can help to understand the work of staff members within juvenile justice centres – individuals who voluntarily engage in risk and negotiate boundaries to: respond to institutional routines, and/or express the institutional and cultural constraints of the emerging social order. The article describes edgework and its use in occupational settings, including criminal justice. It then presents data from an Australian study to demonstrate the stressful and sometimes dangerous conditions that staff members within juvenile justice centres experience. With reference to these data, the article argues that edgework can reveal essential paradoxes in juvenile justice work. This in turn can help to understand workers’ motivation(s) and what might be needed to recruit, support, and retain juvenile justice workers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCrime, Law and Social Change: an interdisciplinary journal
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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