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Working title of PhD: Alternatives to Policing

Institution: University of Strathclyde

Full or Part-time: Full time

Year Commenced: 2023

PhD Supervisors: Laura Piacentini and Gemma Flynn

Funding Source: University Student Excellence Award (SEA) Studentship

Synopsis of PhD: 

This PhD is interested in alternatives to policing and has a specific interest in Scottish working-class culture and communities, and its influence of policing. This argument for finding an alternative to policing is centred on the impact of austerity within the UK, as this period overseen a changing public sector and an expansion of the police within the weakening Welfare state.

The ‘Defund the Police’ movement hasn’t echoed through the UK in the same manner as the BLM movement. In fact, the application of “Defund the Police” within the UK has been scrutinised in criminology, arguing that the notion of defunding the police in a post-austerity UK is unachievable due to the types of defunding seen during the 2010s austerity. This PhD makes the argument that in fact, the impact of austerity can be a gateway, not a barrier, to defunding the police; within the manner proposed by the “Defund the Police” movement.

This research can be understood as non-reformist reform, is abolitionist, and is aided by zemiology in providing context and understanding to the issues at hand. This research will be carried out using secondary research and an ethnography which will take place in my hometown of Paisley, in and around areas I grew up in, studying communities who are impacted by policing. This PhD seeks to answer the following research questions; explore the purpose of policing, examine who we police, explore alternatives to policing in different societies, and to consider if policing is harmful to society.

Keywords: Police, working-class, abolitionism



University of Strathclyde

Research Themes

Crime, Violence and Inequality

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