The Britain of the early twenty-first century has become consumed by heightened concerns about violent crime as well as terrorism. Muslim men, and Muslim communities more widely, seem particularly susceptible to negative stereotyping, at the same time that many media accounts focus on alleged 'dysfunctionalities' of certain groups. However, little is known about the complex relations between ethnicity and criminality; knowledge held by minority ethnic groups on these matters is still much overlooked, and academic criminological accounts tend to neglect minorities' views and their cultural specificities. Here Marta Bolognani fills a major gap in criminology and diaspora studies through an exhaustive cross-generational and cross-gender investigation into crime among British Pakistanis. Avoiding ill-fitting generalisations and stereotypes, she analyses Bradford Pakistanis' perceptions of crime and its production, construction, sanctioning and prevention. These perceptions are analyzed in their specific reality, rather than by imposing abstract, universal categories. She also examines local and national state policies that are geared to preventing crime as well as people's responses to them. In so doing, she shows us how crime comes to be understood by participants as well as institutional actors, and offers a counterpoint to the 'taboo' of talking about crime and race in cultural terms. Through detailed ethnographic observation and interview data, Bolognani shows how Bradford Pakistanis' perceptions of crime and control are a combination of the formal and informal, or British and 'traditional' Pakistani, that are no longer separable in the diasporic context. Bradford Pakistanis engage with mainstream criminological and policy discourses in a way that reflects the position of their diaspora: 'community' for them includes their traditional structures but also all the intra-communal and inter-communal relations that are meaningful, as resources and as constraints. 'Crime in Muslim Britain' is essential for all those interested in criminology, ethnicity and the predicaments of Muslim communities today.
Crime and Muslim Britain
Race, Culture and the Politics of Criminology Among British Pakistanis