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Safety work with an ethnic slant

[journal article]

Wästerfors, David; Burcar, Veronika

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Abstract Ethnic discrimination in the criminal justice system is a well-researched topic, but the significance of ethnicity in policing activities at more mundane levels has attracted less attention. This article analyzes ethnographic data on municipal "safety work" in a Swedish city troubled with robberies, vandalism, and violence. It shows how the efforts of different safety workers, operating to curb crime and promote security, came to focus on the "soft" policing of young men with various immigrant backgrounds. A set of street-level safety practices, performed within spatial demarcations, was found to represent a more-or-less silent orientation towards local minorities; a focus on non-Swedish ethnicities was embedded in the policing activity. This article points out the importance of implied ethnicities in the contemporary landscape of plural policing.
Keywords discrimination; judiciary; execution of sentence; ethnic origin; police; migration background; criminality; domestic security; law and order; media; town; inclusion
Classification Criminal Sociology, Sociology of Law; Social Problems
Document language English
Publication Year 2014
Page/Pages p. 88-101
Journal Social Inclusion, 2 (2014) 3
Issue topic Policing ethnicity: between the rhetoric of inclusion and the policies and practices of exclusion
ISSN 2183-2803
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution