Abigail Cunningham

Project Title: Encountering policing: an exploration of Scottish-Pakistanis’ experiences of policing in everyday life.

In recent years Scotland has positioned itself as an inclusive society united by civic – rather than racial – nationalism. But how do minority Scottish citizens experience this and how do their everyday social encounters and routine interactions with police and government institutions define their sense of belonging within Scotland?

This project will explore Scottish-Pakistanis’ experiences of ‘policing’ in everyday life, including institutional, community, and self-policing. UK policy responses to terrorist threats have contributed to relationships of mistrust between British-Asian communities and police and to increasing incidents of hate crime against them. Minority Scottish citizens are positioned between two dominant but contradictory discourses; one of inclusivity within the Scottish civic nationalist context and that of a suspected community.

Through in-depth, face-to-face interviews this project will examine the idea of Scotland as an inclusive community from the perspective of Scottish-Pakistanis, and problematize the way ethnic minority groups participate in, respond to, and internalise policing on multiple levels. Findings will be of significant benefit to policy makers and practitioners, and will assist policing organisations in Scotland to improve their engagement with minorities. The research has important policy implications because of current concerns about hate crime and Islamophobia in Scotland and the impact of various processes of policing on the sense of belonging in minority communities.

Awarded: Carnegie PhD Scholarship

Field: Social Sciences

University: Edinburgh Napier University

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