3 June 2005

Racial Harassment In North Staffordshire

New research conducted by criminologists at Keele, "Why do they do it? Racial Harassment in North Staffordshire", reveals that the reasons why people commit racial harassment may be much more complicated than they seem. Previous research has shown the devastating impact of racial harassment on people from minority ethnic groups. The researchers set out to investigate the background to this kind of behaviour in North Staffordshire.

Reporting findings from a two-year study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council to an audience including representatives from the police, the probation service and local councils today, Drs David Gadd and Bill Dixon and Professor Tony Jefferson explained why it was important to understand what motivates offenders, as well as the context in which violence and harassment take place.

Commenting on the results of in-depth interviews with people implicated in racial harassment, Dr Gadd said that only a minority were motivated solely by racism. Their behaviour had been intimidating and dangerous, but they had often had traumatic lives involving other forms of criminal behaviour as well as mental illness, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse and regular contact with the police. Focus group discussions with a wide range of local people showed that most people in the area would not describe themselves as `racists' and condemn racially motivated violence. But Dr Dixon explained people of all ages tended to think and talk in terms of `us' and `them', people who belong and people who do not. Industrial decline had led to many local people feeling a sense of loss, a sense that a whole way of life had gone, never to return.

This week:

Vice-Chancellor's Committee - 23 and 31 May 2005
(Keele access only)

Racial Harassment In North Staffordshire

Materials World

Unreliable Evidence

ESRC Commissioning Panel

Academic Appointment

Recent Research Grants