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Hearing Lost Voices: Issues in Researching 'Hidden' Minority Ethnic Communities

By J. Garland, B. Spalek and N. Chakraborti


This article addresses key methodological and ethical dilemmas faced by criminologists when investigating the experiences of minority ethnic households. The paper argues that by employing broad ethnic categories, such as ‘Black’ or ‘Asian’, when examining or discussing minority ethnic groups, statutory agencies can mask the specific concerns of those diverse ‘hidden’ communities that are subsumed under such umbrella classifications. The propensity to assume that the ‘white’ condition is the ‘normal’ version of events is linked to the othering of the experiences of ‘hard-to-reach’ minority ethnic groups. The complexities of researcher subjectivities are examined and specifically the processes that lead to misleading assumptions about ‘hidden’ populations. Only by developing an understanding of the political complexities of researching such groups, and of the nature of their communities, can researchers accurately assess their specific problems

Year: 2006
DOI identifier: 10.1093/bjc
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