Monday, 22 November 2010

New book by Keele Criminologists - Losing the Race: Thinking Psychosocially about Racially Motivated Crime

Based on a two-year research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the book explores why many of those involved in racially motivated crime seem to be struggling to cope with economic, cultural and emotional losses in their own lives. Drawing on in-depth biographical interviews with perpetrators of racist crimes and focus group discussions with ordinary people living in the same communities, the book explores why it is that some people, and not others, feel inclined to attack immigrants and minority ethnic groups. The relationships between ordinary racism, racial harassment and the politics of the British National Party are also explored, as are the enduring impacts of deindustrialisation, economic failure and immigration on white working class communities.
The book assesses the legacy of New Labour policy on community cohesion, hate crime and respect in terms of its impact on racist attitudes and racist incidents, and explores how it is that racist attacks, including racist murders, continue to happen. The book concludes by using psychoanalytically informed psychosocial concepts to explore examples of how and why race-thinking can be put aside and what it is that needs to happen to get perpetrators to loosen or shed their emotional investments in hatred and violence.

Dr David Gadd is Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Deputy Director of the Social Science Research Institutes at Keele University Dr Bill Dixon is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Head of the School of Sociology and Criminology at Keele University.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Student Fees Demonstration

By Siobhan Holohan

Thousands of students and lecturers from universities across the country, including Keele, have marched in protest against the cuts in Higher Education. While politicians and media only sat up and took notice once violence had erupted among a handful of protesters, the wider British public could not fail to notice the strength of feeling behind yesterday’s student led demonstration, the largest in the UK since those staged against the introduction of student loans in the mid 1990s. Lord Browne’s controversial plan to raise the cap on tuition fees to £9000 per year has led to much debate on both sides of the classroom as academics and students ponder the impact that such an action might have on the higher education landscape. Many believe that the change will encourage the reintroduction of a two-tier system whereby those that can afford to will pay, while others will think twice before committing to lifelong debt.

In the month since Browne’s report, Internet message boards have been full of conflicting views on the proposals. While some maintain that education is a right not a privilege, many more agree with the plans complaining that they have been funding student’s lackadaisical ways and partying lifestyles for too long. This is an outmoded contention, which fails to recognise the sacrifice that many students currently make in order to attend university and the benefits they make to society once they graduate. Graduates who earn more already pay higher taxes contributing to the education of those to come in the same way that those who went before them paid higher taxes in order to fund their higher education.

While this debate will clearly rage on, what is clear is that by eroding the principles behind an affordable university system, we are at the cusp of dismissing the point of a higher education altogether. The logic of what Browne and the coalition government are proposing is a market driven knowledge industry bent on churning out a skills-based workforce based on an over-prescriptive view of what is ‘useful’ to society, rather than encouraging an intelligent public able to think, debate and, yes, protest.

Monday, 8 November 2010

The role of the magistracy in the 21st century: prestigious funding for Keele

As reported in their magazine 'The Magistrate' the Magistrates’ Association have commissioned Keele University to deliver a seminar series. The series will cover a variety of topics addressing the theme of the role of the magistracy in the 21st century. Members of the judiciary, academics and policy makers will discuss the place of short term custody; current theories of preventing reoffending and the part that the courts can play; and the meaning of local justice. A report, along with key recommendations, will be issued and discussed at a large conference to be held later in 2011. Professor Barry Godfrey will organise the three seminars with the help of Dr Mary Corcoran and Dr Helen Wells. The same team, from The Research Institute for Social Sciences at Keele, will supervise a doctoral student funded by the prestigious Magistrates’ Association Fellowship from January 2011.