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'Hate crime' and the city

'Hate crime' and the city

Paul Iganski
Copyright Date: 2008
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  • Book Info
    'Hate crime' and the city
    Book Description:

    The impression often conveyed by the media about hate crime offenders is that they are hate-fuelled individuals who, in acting out their extremely bigoted views, target their victims in premeditated violent attacks. Scholarly research on the perpetrators of hate crime has begun to provide a more nuanced picture. But the preoccupation of researchers with convicted offenders neglects the vast majority of hate crime offenders that do not come into contact with the criminal justice system. This book, from a leading author in the field, widens understanding of hate crime by demonstrating that many offenders are ordinary people who offend in the context of their everyday lives. Written in a lively and accessible style, the book takes a victim-centred approach to explore and analyse hate crime as a social problem, providing an empirically informed and scholarly perspective. Aimed at academics and students of criminology, sociology and socio-legal studies, the book draws out the connections between the individual agency of offenders and the background structural context for their actions. It adds a new dimension to the debate about criminalising hate in light of concerns about the rise of punitive and expressive justice, scrutinizing the balance struck by hate crime laws between the rights of offenders and the rights of victims.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-357-3
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of tables and figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. ONE A victim-centred approach to conceptualising ‘hate crime’
    (pp. 1-22)

    While it might seem unwise to open a book by picking apart its title, it is a necessary step in unfolding the argument in the following pages. The term ‘hate crime’ has no legal status in the UK. No law uses the term. Yet the police and other criminal justice agents have enthusiastically embraced it. This has occurred in the decade since the then ‘New’ Labour government introduced penalty enhancement for racially aggravated offences under section 28 of the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act, the equivalent of the so-called ‘hate crime’ laws in the US. Such laws provide extra penalties...

  6. TWO The normality of everyday ‘hate crime’
    (pp. 23-44)

    A recent report for the US-based international human rights organisation, Human Rights First, argued that the most pervasive and most threatening form of racist violence in Europe and North America ‘is also perhaps the most banal and unorganized: the low-level violence of the broken window, the excrement through the letter box, late night banging on doors, and the pushes, kicks and blows delivered to the passerby on the sidewalk’ (McClintock, 2005, p 5). While issue might be taken with the notion that any such incidents can be ‘low level’ (on this matter see also Chahal and Julienne, 1999, p 8),...

  7. THREE The spatial dynamics of everyday ‘hate crime’
    (pp. 45-72)

    A key argument of the last chapter was that many incidents of ‘hate crime’ are not encounters engineered by offenders, but result from the normal frictions of day-to-day life. Or they take place when offenders seize an opportunity in chance encounters that occur in the course of the victims’ and offenders’ everyday lives. This chapter develops the analysis by demonstrating that the geography of space and place clearly plays a role in generating encounters between offenders and victims. It therefore mediates between the background structural context of ‘hate crime’ and the foreground of offending and victimisation. A number of hypotheses...

  8. FOUR Tensions in liberalism and the criminalisation of ‘hate’
    (pp. 73-94)

    The ‘New’ Labour government elected in 1997 has often been criticised for the raft of legislation it has introduced and for its criminal justice reforms in particular. It might therefore be unfashionable to argue that under the leadership of Prime Minister Tony Blair the Labour government introduced a radical legislative programme against ‘hate crime’ that responded to, and was welcomed by, advocacy movements for historically victimised communities. In far less time than it took ‘hate crime’ laws to progress through state and federal legislatures in the US, between 1998 and 2003 provisions were enacted in the UK to provide harsher...

  9. FIVE Including victims of ‘hate crime’ in the criminal justice policy process
    (pp. 95-114)

    There seems to be a consensus in contemporary scholarly writing on victims of crime in the UK that they had first been ‘lost’, but then ‘rediscovered’ by criminal justice (cf Sanders, 2002, p 200). For some commentators, recent policy initiatives represent a ‘watershed’, with the interests of victims now nearing the top of the political agenda (Reeves and Mulley, 2000, pp 125, 144). A number of initiatives have been introduced from the 1960s onwards to make criminal justice more inclusive of victims, once the ‘forgotten actors’ of the criminal justice system (Sanders, 2002, p 200). This initial neglect of victims...

  10. SIX Conclusions: understanding everyday ‘hate crime’
    (pp. 115-126)

    Scholarly writing on social problems spans a continuum from highly abstracted works to careful descriptions of empirical phenomena. The aim of this book has been to sit somewhere in between and apply empirically grounded analysis to further the conceptual understanding of ‘hate crime’. It is often the case, however, that more questions than answers are raised when an analysis digs deeper into a social problem. This concluding chapter draws out the key themes of the analysis that has unfolded across the previous chapters and raises some questions that the analysis generates.

    At the outset it was noted that even though...

  11. Appendix A: The UK’s ‘hate crime’ laws
    (pp. 127-130)
  12. Appendix B: The process of ‘hate crime’
    (pp. 131-132)
  13. Appendix C: Controversy about the extent of the anti-Muslim backlash following the July 2005 London bombings
    (pp. 133-136)
  14. Appendix D: Ethnic group composition of the London boroughs (2001 Census)
    (pp. 137-138)
  15. Appendix E: Black and Asian minority ethnic (BME) group population proportions and diversity scores for the London boroughs (1991 and 2001)
    (pp. 139-140)
  16. Appendix F: Methodology of the evaluation of the London-wide Race Hate Crime Forum
    (pp. 141-142)
  17. References
    (pp. 143-152)
  18. Index
    (pp. 153-158)