My main areas of research are in the fields of hate crime, policing, rural racism, the far-right, community and identity, and victimisation. Currently I’m working on a project examining the impact of injuries suffered by police officers on duty, funded by the Police Dependants’ Trust. Prior to this I was co-investigator on the Leicester Hate Crime Project, the largest study of hate crime victimisation ever undertaken. The two-year project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, investigated the experiences of those who are victimised because of their identity, vulnerability or perceived 'difference' in the eyes of the perpetrator. It examined not just the experiences of the more ‘recognised’ hate crime victim communities, including those who experience racist, religiously motivated, homophobic, disablist and transphobic victimisation, but also anyone who feels they have been targeted because of who they are. The research was undertaken via an extensive online and written survey of the wide range of victim communities mentioned above, complemented by hundreds of in-depth interviews with victims. The findings were summarised in a series of reports and academic journal articles, available from the project website. It is hoped that the findings will benefit potential and actual victims of hate crime, community groups, networks and associations, the police, local authorities, Victim Support, the Ministry of Justice and Home Office, and charities and third sector organisations.
Prior to the Leicester Hate Crime Project I have been awarded research grants from the Home Office (to evaluate police diversity training); Leicester City Council (to conduct an audit of the local African Caribbean community); the European Union (to examine the issue of racism in football); and Greater Manchester Police (to evaluate police diversity training). I have also undertaken a number of projects examining the issue of rural racism, funded by three rural constabularies (Suffolk, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire) and associated partners. I have published six books: Racism and Anti-racism in Football (with Mike Rowe); The Future of Football (with Mike Rowe and Dominic Malcolm), Youth Culture, Popular Music and the End of ‘Consensus’ (with the Subcultures Network), and (all with Neil Chakraborti) Rural Racism, Responding to Hate Crime: The Case for Connecting Policy and Research, and Hate Crime: Impact, Causes, and Consequences (now onto its second edition). I have also had numerous journal articles and reports published on issues of racism, community safety, hate crime, policing, cultural criminology, and identity.
I am interested in supervising PhDs in the areas of hate crime, policing, cyberbullying, public order, the far-right, and victimology. For more more details about our PhD programme, please go to:
• Introduction to Criminal Justice Systems (level four undergraduate)
• Crime, Power and Justice (level five undergraduate)
• Hate Crime (level six undergraduate)
• The Criminal Justice System (postgraduate)
• Dissertation supervision (undergraduate and postgraduate)
• PhD supervision
Selected Previous Teaching
• Racism, Crime and Disorder (postgraduate)
• Hate Crime (third year undergraduate)
• Policing (second year undergraduate)
• Introduction to Criminal Justice (first year undergraduate)
Subject Leader, Department of Sociology
Selected Previous Duties
Programme Director, BA Criminology; MSc Community Safety; MSc Police Leadership; MSc Criminal Justice Studies (University of Leicester)
Chair of Department Learning and Teaching Committee (Department of Criminology, University of Leicester)
I’m currently on the Board of Directors, of the Sophie Lancaster Foundation and on the Steering Committee of International Network for Hate Studies. I’m also involved in the work of the Interdisciplinary Network for the Study of Subcultures, Popular Music and Social Change. As part of this work I co-edited a special issue of Contemporary British History entitled ‘Youth Culture, Popular Music and the End of ‘Consensus’ in Post-War Britain’, 26 (3): 2012.
I’m a member of the British Society of Criminology and the Howard League for Penal Reform and am on the Editorial Board of Law, Crime, Justice and Society and the Editorial Advisory Board of Crime Prevention and Community Safety: An International Journal. I’ve been the external examiner for five doctoral theses on hate crime (x3), racism in sport and football disorder. I have previously supervised two research students through to completion (both studying rural racism).
Previously I was External examiner for the Applied Criminology suite of undergraduate degrees at De Montfort University and for the BSc Criminology and Sociology at the University of Surrey. I was on the organising committee of the ‘Subcultures, Popular Music and Social Change’ conference, held in September 2011 at London Metropolitan University, and had a similar role for the ‘Human Rights Human Wrongs’ British Society of Criminology annual conference, held in July 2010 at the University of Leicester.
This article considers the processes through which some police officers with mental ill-health experience stigmatisation in police organisations. Situated in the sociological framework of Goffman (1963) and in modified labelling theory (Link et al. 2004, inter alia) it draws on the findings of a qualitative study and examines the sources of stigma embedded in police work, the consequences of stigma for the labelled officer, the nature of any resistance to the application of the label, and approaches to challenging stigma within the policing context. It suggests that in order to tackle these negative attitudes constabularies must do more to address the processes of stigmatisation associated with mental ill-health at the individual and institutional levels.
Greater Manchester Police’s categorisation of targeted attacks on ‘alternative subculture’ members as hate crimes prompted extensive debate about whether such incidents are comparable to those of recognised hate crime groups. Hate crime experts have contributed to this debate but there is a lack of detailed empirical research on the subject. Drawing on qualitative interviews with twenty-one respondents mostly affiliated to the goth scene, this paper uncovers extensive experience of verbal harassment and, for some respondents, repeated incidents of targeted violence. The nature and impact of such experiences, we argue, bears comparison with key facets of hate crime. Such evidence informs and underlines the importance of conceptual arguments about whether hate crime can or should be extended beyond recognised minority groups.
This article suggests that the concepts of vulnerability and ‘difference’ should be focal points of hate crime scholarship if the values at the heart of the hate crime movement are not to be diluted. By stringently associating hate crime with particular strands of victims and sets of motivations through singular constructions of identity, criminologists have created a divisive and hierarchical approach to understanding hate crime. To counter these limitations, we propose that vulnerability and ‘difference’, rather than identity and group membership alone, should be central to investigations of hate crime. These concepts would allow for a more inclusive conceptual framework enabling hitherto overlooked and vulnerable victims of targeted violence to receive the recognition they urgently need.
In recent years the European Union (EU) has witnessed rising levels of hate crime. However, although there have been a number of legislative and other policy initiatives introduced across the EU to combat such offences, these have developed in a piecemeal and sometimes half-hearted fashion. This article outlines the difficulties evident in theorizing hate crime and how these problems have been reflected in the divergent ways that hate crime legislation has developed across the EU. It argues that an approach to combating hate crime based on human rights, which is endorsed by many EU institutions, has failed to tackle the problem effectively and has resulted in the uneven protection of hate crime victim groups. By utilizing an individual rather than a group-based human rights approach, the damaging nature and effect of such ‘targeted victimization’ upon all hate crime victims can be better understood and addressed.
This article analyses the issues involved with deciding which identity groups are categorized as specific hate crime victim groups and which are not. It assesses whether theories of hate crime based around hierarchical notions of group dominance and subordination are helpful in determining which groups should be included under the hate crime 'umbrella'. Through a discussion of the victimization of disabled people, the elderly and the homeless, the article outlines key concepts - relating to community, risk, harm and vulnerability - that are central to comprehending the nature of the abuse that they suffer. It also notes the common misreading of 'low-level' targeted harassment as anti-social behaviour, and assesses the impact this has upon the development of a more in-depth understanding of the circumstances of victims. The article also highlights the problems with using collective terms like 'communities' or 'groups' in this context, as such entities can be very diverse - indeed 'separate' groups often intersect with each other. As an alternative, it is suggested that moving the debate away from collective terminology towards an understanding of the risk of targeted victimization that individuals face would be helpful when trying to assess the circumstances of disabled people, the elderly and the homeless, who currently are still at the margins of the hate debate. © The Author(s) 2011.
The murder of Sophie Lancaster in August 2007 in Lancashire, England, made national headlines, both for the brutal nature of the assault upon her and also because she had been attacked solely due to her ‘alternative’, gothic appearance. At the trial of her teenage assailants the judge surprisingly referred to the incident as a ‘hate crime’, apparently viewing the targeting of her ‘difference’ as being the key defining factor of what constitutes such a crime. This article will examine the validity of this assumption by analysing the characteristics of the assault upon Lancaster and also the nature, extent and impact of the harassment of goths and ‘alternatives’ more generally. It will assess the degree to which this type of victimisation is similar to that experienced by minority communities, such as gay, transgender, minority ethnic and disabled, who are routinely categorised, by both academics and practitioners, as being hate crime victim groups. The article will conclude that although there are inherent problems with classifying attacks upon goths as hate crimes, it may nonetheless be time to view the targeting of difference as being the most important aspect of what is, and is not, considered a hate crime.
On a number of occasions throughout 2009 and 2010 violent clashes occurred between white and Asian males, anti-fascist demonstrators and the police in city centres in the United Kingdom. These disturbances involved a new organisation, the English Defence League (EDL), which claims to oppose ‘radical Islam’. This article charts the growth of the EDL and the affiliated Casuals United, and examines their motivations and ideologies. It assesses their links with football hooligan ‘firms’, and whether these links mean that the EDL has a large pool of violent ‘footsoldiers’ at its disposal, and concludes that the EDL’s Islamophobic views and provocative street army tactics mean that it poses the most serious threat to public order and community cohesion since the heyday of the National Front in the 1970s.
This chapter is a reflexive account of the advent and development of a grassroots campaigning charity that seeks to combat prejudice directed againstthose from an alternative subculture. It contains extended abstracts from an interview with Sylvia llancaster, head of the Sophie Lancaster Foundation
This thesis explores young people’s perceptions and practices surrounding ‘youth sexting’, particularly regarding privacy and consent. Youth sexting – involving the production and exchange of sexual images or messages via mobile phones and other communication technologies – has attracted media attention, public concern, and research and policy focus for some time, particularly regarding the perceived harmful nature of the practice (Crofts et al., 2015). This thesis situates harmful practices in terms of breaches of privacy and consent. The research is used to advocate for progressive, harm-reduction approaches to responding to youth sexting that centralise ethics, justice and equality, and give rights to sexual and bodily expression and exploration, as well as freedom from harm. Group and one-to-one interviews with young people revealed narratives of individualism and responsibilisation regarding harmful sexting practices. Intertwined were moralising discourses about harm-avoidance, which underpinned a demarcation of deserving and undeserving victims, and promoted victim-blaming. Analyses revealed however, that risk and harm was not inherent to sexting and was shaped by norms and standards surrounding gender and sexuality, and local peer group dynamics and hierarchies. The designation of some forms of bodily and sexual expression as shameful and illegitimate shaped harmful practices and were incorporated into young people’s self-concepts in ways that both reproduced and resisted established systems of meaning. The findings suggest that rather than being caused by technology, youth sexting should be understood as a complex, negotiated practice situated within young people’s peer, digital, relational, and sexual cultures. The thesis explores young people’s perspectives on addressing youth sexting, and concludes by emphasising the need to disrupt and challenge the meanings underpinning shame and stigma, and the responsibilisation of individuals to deal with inequality and harm.
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Assembly date: Mon Feb 19 00:26:30 GMT 2018
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