Social Division

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Studies of British Asian crime
Researchers Ben bowling and Coretta Philips (2002) note that by the late 1990s ethnographic studies had begun to studies had begun to examine crime among British Asian. They reviewed a number of studies, including those by Desai (1999) and Mawby and Batta (1980) .bowling and Phillips note earlier ethnographic studies had generally portrayed Asian communities as “inward looking”, “tightly knit”, self regulating, passive and ordered by tradition with strong family ties. These characteristics were assumed to explain low rates of criminality among British Asians. For example a study by Mawby and Batta (1980) examined criminality among British Asians in Bradford. Mawby and Batta pointed out that most British Asians in Bradford were relatively poor, of working class backgrounds and living in inner-city areas. All these factors suggested they should be heavily involved in crime. However the study found that they committed few crimes and those that they did commit tended to be of a minor nature. Mawby and Bata explained that the emphasis on izzat, or family honour, encouraged conformism among British Asians in Bradford. They were afraid of dishonouring the family name and they were therefore reluctant to commit crime. More recent studies, such as Rhat by Desai, have found groups of Asian males who willing to take risks of moving around town and were rebelling against their parent culture (Bowling and Phillips 2002) . Desai found that some young Asians men were taking a more aggressive stance in combating racist attacks against them and were against perceived threats from outside. According to Desai, some Bangladeshi boys were making a self conscious attempt to counter the image of them as weak and passive. Some cultivated a ‘Bengali Bad Boy Image’ (Bowling and Phillips 2002)

Not all ethnographers of Asian communities have reached similar conclusions. a study by Claire Alexander (2000) argued that the media image of a...