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Racist Victimization, Legal Estrangement and Resentful Reliance on the Police in Sweden

New article by Kıvanç Atak in Social & Legal Studies.

Scholarly literature offers much insight into aggressive policing of racial minorities. However, research is not equally extensive regarding the experiences of racial minorities with law enforcement when police response might be decisive for their sense of recognition and protection as a community. Bridging debates from critical race studies, hate crimes and legal cynicism, this paper addresses how policing of racist victimization is experienced by members of racially targeted communities in Sweden.

Kıvanç Atak. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad / Kontinent
Kıvanç Atak. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad / Kontinent

Drawing on interviews with people having personal and/or vicarious experiences with racist victimization, Atak analyzes resentful reliance on the police through the concept of legal estrangement. While most respondents describe police treatment in somewhat positive terms, there is a shared resentment at the police due to the lived experience that racism often remains undetected. Previous interactions with law enforcement also pave the way for accumulated skepticism toward the utility of the policing of racial hatred. Disenchantment with law enforcement notwithstanding, reliance on the police manifests a will not just to be recognized as a victim, but also to make the pervasiveness of racism more visible.

Read the article here (Open Access).