University of Edinburgh
Working Title of PhD: The causes and motivations of hate crime: implications for criminal justice social work and beyond.
Year commenced PhD study: 2017
Institution/Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Funding Source (if any): Economic and Social Research Council
Full or part-time: Part-time
PhD Supervisors: Dr Steve Kirkwood and Dr Michael Rosie
Synopsis of PhD: Hate crime can have a devastating impact upon individuals, families, communities, and the very fabric of society. ‘Trigger’ events (such as the EU Referendum vote in 2016) and the fostering of certain political climates and media rhetoric can influence public consciousness and increase expressions of prejudice and hostility. As such, there has been an increased focus on hate crime amongst academics, policy-makers, and criminal justice agencies across the UK and internationally. Significantly, Scottish hate crime legislation is currently undergoing a comprehensive review. Remarkably, there is little research on the motivations of those who commit hate crime, despite such accounts being central to our understanding of how and why hate crime occurs. Further, there appear to be no interrogations of the seminal ‘typology’ of hate crime offenders first proposed in 1993 by McDevitt and Levin. No primary Scottish research into those responsible for hate crime yet exists, nor an in-depth examination of the role of Criminal Justice Social Work (CJSW) in working with those convicted of hate offences. Utilising a qualitative research strategy of biographical-narrative interviews, my research will thus explore how and why hate crime occurs through the accounts of people convicted of hate crime (exploring micro, meso, and macro-level causal factors), how hate crime is conceptualised by CJSW practitioners, and the implications for CJSW policy, practice, and other key stakeholders in the justice field and beyond.
Keywords: hate crime, prejudice, desistance
List of relevant publications: