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Police-Adolescents Relations in European Multi-Ethnic Societies: Findings from a Comparative Study in Germany and France on the Role of Stop-and-Search Practices

Police-Adolescents Relations in European Multi-Ethnic Societies: Findings from a Comparative Study in Germany and France on the Role of Stop-and-Search Practices
1 Devonshire Place, Room 208N, Munk School of Global Affairs
Time: Apr 18th, 4:00 pm End: Apr 18th, 6:00 pm
Interest Categories: Law, Faculty of , German (FAS), French and Linguistics (UTSC), French (FAS), 2000-
Talk by Dietrich Oberwittler, University of Freiburg

The Joint Initiative in German and European Studies, the Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies and the Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies presents

Police-Adolescents Relations in European Multi-Ethnic Societies: Findings from a Comparative Study in Germany and France on the Role of Stop-and-Search Practices

Violent protests against the police have occurred in several West European cities over the last couple of years, with adolescent boys and young men predominantly from ethnic minorities dominating the rioting crowds. Many studies have tried to look into the causes of dissatisfaction among minority adolescents, but few have taken a comparative perspective which can exploit the variations in social conditions and policing systems within Europe.

The German-French project POLIS contributes to this research by comparing adolescents' experiences of and attitudes towards the police in two German and two French cities, combining standardized data with qualitative participant observations. This presentation focusses on the practice of discretionary identity checks (stop and search) of adolescents. Excessive controls and "ethnic profiling" in particular are a prime example of discriminatory and unfair police strategies which are believed to be major source of grievances among young people. Using data from a very large school survey (N = ca. 20.000) in the four cities, it can be shown that French police in fact discriminates heavily against adolescents of Maghreb origins and living in disadvantaged neighborhoods, whereas German police manages to avoid discrimination. These findings are backed by qualitative observations and have important consequences for police legitimacy among adolescents in both countries.

Dietrich Oberwittler is a research group leader in the Department of Criminology, Max Planck Institute of Foreign and International Criminal Law, Freiburg (Germany), and an extracurricular professor of sociology at the University of Freiburg. From 2004 to 2006, he was a Marie Curie Fellow and Affiliated Lecturer at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge/UK. His research interests are in the fields of juvenile delinquency, violence research, policing, and communities and crime. Recent Publications include "Breaking Rules: The Social and Situational Dynamics of Young People's Urban Crime" (Oxford University Press, with P.-O. Wikström, Kyle Treiber and Beth Hardie).

This eventis free and open to all. Registration is required. For further information, please contact Olga Kesarchuk  at 416-946-8497

 


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