Mind the Gap! Making Stronger Connections between Hate Crime Policy and Scholarship
journal contributionposted on 21.07.2015, 08:39 by Neil A. Chakraborti
With hostility and prejudice continuing to pose complex challenges for societies across the world, developments in hate crime scholarship and policy have facilitated a greater prioritization, improved understanding and collective action amongst a range of different actors, including law-makers and enforcers, non-governmental organisations, activists and ‘ordinary’ citizens. Despite this progress however, our collective responses to hate crime have been undermined by a disconnected approach to scholarship and policy. This article focuses on a series of problems which are created and reinforced through such an approach. This includes the limited reach of hate crime scholarship, and specifically the perception that academic theorising is often too detached from the everyday realities confronting those who respond to – or live with – the consequences of hate crime in the ‘real world’. Equally problematic is policy which is not empirically-driven or linked to academic knowledge, or which is based on tokenistic, cynical or ‘tick-box’ foundations. The article draws from these faultlines to underline the symbiotic relationship between hate crime scholarship and policy-formation: one where policyformation needs academic substance to be fit for purpose; and where scholarship needs to inform policy to have any lasting ‘real-world’ value to responses to hate crime.