Hate Crime

Authored by: Neil Chakraborti , Jon Garland

Routledge Handbook of Critical Criminology

Print publication date:  October  2011
Online publication date:  October  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415779678
eBook ISBN: 9780203864326
Adobe ISBN: 9781135192808


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‘Hate crime’ is now a relatively well-established term within criminological parlance and in particular within North American scholarship. Arguably, its origins stem as far back as the post-Civil War period and the drafting of the U.S. Constitution (Levin, 2002). However, contemporary campaigns that combat hate crime have their roots in the convergence of a series of progressive social movements during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, most notably those relating to women, black civil rights, gay and lesbian groups, those with disabilities and the markedly more conservative victims’ rights lobby (Grattet & Jenness, 2003; Jenness & Broad, 1997). With its capacity to unite disparate social pressure groups through the collective emphasis on rights and discrimination, the anti-hate crime movement drew attention to the physical, emotional and political victimisation experienced by minorities. Consequently, the stage was set for the emergence of hate crime as an issue of widespread significance deserving of public, political and legislative recognition. Since this time, hate crime has duly been classed as a distinct category of criminal law in many American states, and at federal level, as a result of the continued pressure exerted through the mobilisation of campaign groups and sustained lobbying at county level. Not surprisingly, this area of study has captured the imagination of critical criminologists, whose commitment to broadening traditional lines of enquiry to facilitate more nuanced analyses of the social harms associated with hate – and of the ways in which the marginalisation of subordinate groups can be normalised through hegemonic strategies – has inspired significant progress in both operational and empirical terms, as discussed shortly.

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