In the past most studies of racism in the
UK have been carried out in major metropolitan areas like London,
Manchester and Birmingham, but researchers from Keele
University’s Centre for Criminological Research recently
completed a study of racial harassment in the North Staffordshire
Few areas have undergone such a dramatic industrial decline as
Stoke-on-Trent and the surrounding areas in the last thirty years.
The closure of the mining, steel and pottery industries has removed
a whole way of life from the area, leaving many with a deep sense
of loss, confronting an unsettling and uncertain future.
Using a unique methodological approach the researchers examined the
significant problem of racial harassment of ethnic minorities in
the region. Fifteen perpetrators were extensively interviewed using
the Free Association Narrative Interview Method, to draw out in
depth biographical accounts of their backgrounds and behaviour.
Many of them did not regard themselves as racist or see their
actions in those terms.
Their attitudes were then compared with the attitudes of focus
groups made up of a range of people from the wider community,
allowing the researchers to explore the connections between the
individual motivations of the perpetrators of racial harassment,
and the wider social context in which it takes place. They
discovered that perpetrators shared perceptions of “us”
and “them” - people who belong in the area and people
who don’t - widespread among local people. They also had
similar characteristics to the ordinary offenders routinely in
trouble with the police in any community. Many were multiply
disadvantaged, with backgrounds of severe material and emotional
- Pottery chimneys
- Mining memorial
- Housing estates
- Dramatic reconstructions of harassment
- Racial Harassment report
- Street scenes
- Dr Bill Dixon, Lecturer in Criminology, Keele University
- Dr David Gadd, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, Keele
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