Violent Racism: Victimization, Policing and Social Context

Violent Racism: Victimization, Policing and Social Context

Violent Racism: Victimization, Policing and Social Context

Violent Racism: Victimization, Policing and Social Context

Synopsis

This fascinating book documents the everyday abuse, assault, and intimidation that is suffered by black and Asian people in Great Britain every day, using information gathered in an East London London case study. The author explains and analyses the process through which violence is targeted at these minorities, and the role that the ideas and language of racial exclusion take in this process. The failure of the police to respond to this problem is then looked at in depth. This book is based on detailed analysis of official documents, a victimization survey, interviews, and direct observation, seen in the overall context of the history of race relations in Britain. The author describes many of the thousands of racist attacks that have occurred in recent years and the events in the last two decades that have shaped English racism, and the political response to it. In this paperback edition Ben Bowling's Preface examines the racist murder of the black teenager, Stephen Lawrence, whose killing in cold blood on an ordinary English street in April 1993 did not hit the headlines until February 1999, causing reverberations across the whole body of British politics and beyond.

Excerpt

The Clarendon Studies in Criminology series was inaugurated in 1994 under the auspices of centres of criminology at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford and the London School of Economics. There was a view that criminology in Britain and elsewhere was flowing with interesting work and that there was scope for a new dedicated series of scholarly books. In particular, there was a recognition that authors of research monographs, the life-blood of any subject, face growing difficulties in publishing their work. The intention, declared Roger Hood, its first general editor, was 'to provide a forum for outstanding work in all aspects of criminology, criminal justice, penology, and the wider field of deviant behaviour.' We trust that that intention has been fulfilled. Fourteen titles have already been published, covering policing; prisons and prison administation; gender and crime; the media reporting of crime news, and much else; and others will follow.

Violent Racism is an important addition to the Clarendon series. Few subjects are more laden with a priori assumptions and sharply contested standpoints. Bowling's own mixed race background sensitises him to the issues involved to an unusual degree, and has also heightened his awareness of the pitfalls facing the sociologist who seeks too readily to gloss over profound conflicts of experience and interpretation. His study combines a detailed analysis of the complex history of developing strategies to combat racism and violence with the story of one project in the East End of London that aimed to curb violent racism by multi-agency co-operation. It is a story of halting progression from official denial that any such problem existed to one of partial but limited success in agency partnership. His analysis illuminates the immensity of the task by making such subtle yet profound distinctions as that between violent racism and racist violence, and builds on the pivotal difference between the event-based logic of policing and the experience of cumulative victimization which eludes it. Only as strategies are evolved which take such constraints into account will the real potential for proactive partnership against violent racism take more effective shape.

The fact that some progress has been made carries the danger of complacency and a lack of preparedness for the sudden upsurge of vio-

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