Advanced

Anti-Muslim Violence and the Possibility of Justice

Kolankiewicz, Marta LU (2015) In Lund Dissertations in Sociology 109.
Abstract
This thesis is concerned with the ways in which justice is dispensed in Swedish courts in cases concerning anti-Muslim violence. Based on material accessed through the Swedish National Board for Crime Prevention and classified as Islamophobic hate crimes, the judicial treatment of cases that may involve racism is analysed. An aim is to explore how different laws against racism in the Swedish legal system, most importantly the penalty enhancement provision for crimes motivated by racism, work in practice.

Through an in-depth analysis of several cases—of a mosque fire, of insulting emails and of attacks on taxi drivers—the thesis explores a particular type of silence around the possible racist nature of these acts. The main... (More)
This thesis is concerned with the ways in which justice is dispensed in Swedish courts in cases concerning anti-Muslim violence. Based on material accessed through the Swedish National Board for Crime Prevention and classified as Islamophobic hate crimes, the judicial treatment of cases that may involve racism is analysed. An aim is to explore how different laws against racism in the Swedish legal system, most importantly the penalty enhancement provision for crimes motivated by racism, work in practice.

Through an in-depth analysis of several cases—of a mosque fire, of insulting emails and of attacks on taxi drivers—the thesis explores a particular type of silence around the possible racist nature of these acts. The main argument is that the courts’ understanding of motive, subject, language and injury, and their definition of racism, make it difficult to notice a racist dimension of these acts of violence and therefore to redress a type of harm entailed by racism. Focusing on obstacles inherent in the workings of the judiciary and in the ways truth is established, the limits of resorting to law in search of justice in cases involving racism are discussed. By bringing in a counter-example, a case in which the focus of the judgement is on the racist nature of the acts on trial, an attempt is made to expand the understanding of the judiciary and make the agency of those involved in cases, and in particular the discretion of the judges, visible. In this way, a more dynamic model of the law is proposed, in which laws, rather than being predefined in a self-contained legal system, are steadily made through acts of interpretation taking place in courts.

Theoretically, the thesis is located in an intersection between sociology of racism and sociology of social justice. In particular, the question of how racism and law influence each other is explored. For one, the development of Swedish legislation against racism is analysed as embedded in particular social dynamics related to racism as shameful. These dynamics lead to the passing of progressive laws, at the same time as the existence of racism may be denied. For another, the thesis examines how acts of racist violence take on new forms to avoid the accusation of racism. Drawing on feminist and critical debates on social justice, this thesis explores the limits and potential of using law in the struggle against racism. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • professor Back, Les, Goldsmiths, University of London
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Anti-Muslim violence, racism, Islamophobia, hate crime, hate speech, racist slur, racist jokes, anti-racism, social justice, law, Swedish judiciary, Sweden, penalty enhancement, court, trial, judgement, discrimination, racial agitation, harassment, mosque, Muslims, Islam
in
Lund Dissertations in Sociology
volume
109
pages
226 pages
defense location
Kulturens Auditorium, Tegnérsplatsen, Lund
defense date
2015-04-10 10:00
ISSN
1102-4712
ISBN
978-91-7623-257-6
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
9dfc88e4-cd75-421b-baa1-5573370714fd (old id 5154882)
date added to LUP
2015-03-17 09:36:52
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:01
@misc{9dfc88e4-cd75-421b-baa1-5573370714fd,
  abstract     = {This thesis is concerned with the ways in which justice is dispensed in Swedish courts in cases concerning anti-Muslim violence. Based on material accessed through the Swedish National Board for Crime Prevention and classified as Islamophobic hate crimes, the judicial treatment of cases that may involve racism is analysed. An aim is to explore how different laws against racism in the Swedish legal system, most importantly the penalty enhancement provision for crimes motivated by racism, work in practice. <br/><br>
Through an in-depth analysis of several cases—of a mosque fire, of insulting emails and of attacks on taxi drivers—the thesis explores a particular type of silence around the possible racist nature of these acts. The main argument is that the courts’ understanding of motive, subject, language and injury, and their definition of racism, make it difficult to notice a racist dimension of these acts of violence and therefore to redress a type of harm entailed by racism. Focusing on obstacles inherent in the workings of the judiciary and in the ways truth is established, the limits of resorting to law in search of justice in cases involving racism are discussed. By bringing in a counter-example, a case in which the focus of the judgement is on the racist nature of the acts on trial, an attempt is made to expand the understanding of the judiciary and make the agency of those involved in cases, and in particular the discretion of the judges, visible. In this way, a more dynamic model of the law is proposed, in which laws, rather than being predefined in a self-contained legal system, are steadily made through acts of interpretation taking place in courts. <br/><br>
Theoretically, the thesis is located in an intersection between sociology of racism and sociology of social justice. In particular, the question of how racism and law influence each other is explored. For one, the development of Swedish legislation against racism is analysed as embedded in particular social dynamics related to racism as shameful. These dynamics lead to the passing of progressive laws, at the same time as the existence of racism may be denied. For another, the thesis examines how acts of racist violence take on new forms to avoid the accusation of racism. Drawing on feminist and critical debates on social justice, this thesis explores the limits and potential of using law in the struggle against racism.},
  author       = {Kolankiewicz, Marta},
  isbn         = {978-91-7623-257-6},
  issn         = {1102-4712},
  keyword      = {Anti-Muslim violence,racism,Islamophobia,hate crime,hate speech,racist slur,racist jokes,anti-racism,social justice,law,Swedish judiciary,Sweden,penalty enhancement,court,trial,judgement,discrimination,racial agitation,harassment,mosque,Muslims,Islam},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {226},
  series       = {Lund Dissertations in Sociology},
  title        = {Anti-Muslim Violence and the Possibility of Justice},
  volume       = {109},
  year         = {2015},
}