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Crime, Control and Culture, examples of ongoing projects

Existing research on graffiti has been preoccupied with the tension between the legal and illegal aspect of the subculture, instead of pursuing the 'where,' 'how,' and 'why' of graffiti as defined by graffiti writers themselves. Erik Hannerz takes such issues as his project's starting point, relating them to how graffiti writers perceive, interpret, and act upon public space as well as the measures taken by the authorities.

Youngsters in institutional care have been studied ethnographically, with research focusing on their school-work, and phenomena such as play-fighting and the construction of “home”. In one project the focus is in explaining cases of violence within youth care, as well as institutional members’ use of non-violence (David Wästerfors).

Prisoners are studied by Agneta Mallén in a new project: "Prison in Finnish. Åland prisoners' experiences of serving a sentence in Finland ".

Criminals representing different social categories such as violent gang members are studied by Anna Hedlund in "Don't shoot": The effects of reduction strategies to prevent deadly violence and shooting in criminal groups in Sweden", and women engaged in drug dealing - some interviewed in prisons but most outside prisons are studied by doctoral student Oriana Quaglietta.

Veronika Burcar Alm is studying how young criminals talk about violence and threat. Buying sex is a sensitive subject which doctoral student Isabelle Johansson is studying through talking to men engaged in this practice.

The appeal of violence-promoting Islamic extremism is investigated, by Christofer Edling among others. A specific project by Henriette Frees Esholdt focuses on how masculinity and femininity are cornerstone in this “counter-culture”, as attractions in this aestethtic and affective community. Another, newly started project: "After the caliphate - Mobilization of women and men in the Salafi jihadist environment in Sweden". (Henriette Frees Esholdt )

Sébastien Tutenges uses ethnographic methods to study Muslims in Norway who are involved in street life and crime. The aim is to understand why most people with this background reject violent jihadism and how they express their opposition in words and deeds.

Based on ethnographic fieldwork in detention homes, the police and psychiatric care administrative routines such as meetings and documents are studied in different organizations. (Erika Andersson Cederholm, Katarina Jacobsson, David Wästerfors and Malin Åkerström).

Stories told by war victims and former detainees in concentration camps in the Bosnian war during the 1990s have been investigated. Stories of humiliation and power in the camps indicate that there was little space for individuality and preservation of self. Nevertheless, the detainees seem to have been able to generate some room for resistance, and this seems to have granted them a sense of honour and self-esteem, also after the war. (Goran Basic)

Many projects on social control efforts are progressing within the research group right now.

A recent example is the project "Criminal investigation citizens and digital crowdsourcing in civilian reconnaissance and intelligence work" involving David Wästerfors, Veronika Burcar Alm and Erik Hannerz.

The traditional police have been investigated in several projects.

The boundary between a gift and a bribe has been examined by Malin Åkerström. In a recent analysis, she examines the effects of the “bribery gaze” arising from recent anti-corruption efforts in Sweden where the boundary between a gift and a bribe has become perilously vague.

Mediation between criminals and their victims in various settings has been studied through field observations and interviews as to the emotional work and interaction dynamics (Anna Rypi and Veronika Burcar Alm).

In subways, squares, parking places, and in shops, the use of cameras to accomplish surveillance of citizens has become common. Lately such control has been supplemented by people using their mobile phones to take pictures and film events that they perceive as crime or abuse of power. This trend is investigated by Agneta Mallén when she studies sousveillance and citizen journalism.

How do lawyers maneuver in court, with its emotional regime of neutrality and objectivity, while simultaneously being allied with their client? This is the question that Lisa Flower has tried to answer when studying emotion management in the Swedish courtroom. At the moment she is publishing results from a new project: “Direct From The Courtroom: Live-reporting from trials and its emotional challenges”.

This research group has a long history of studying crime victims, e.g. masculinity and victimisation, victim support groups, victims that do not fit the expected victim model.

One of the studies concerns treatment efforts of men who have abused their female partner. In a quantitative as well as qualitative study, Susanne Boethius wrote about this in her dissertation. Another study in this field concerns how a persons social network responds to domestic violence, and especially what happens when someone calls the police (Susanne Boethius, Margareta Hydén and Malin Åkerström)

A third study that concerns victims investigates violence among siblings (Veronika Burcar), and the meaning of ethnicity among young men who are victims of assault, robbery, etc are studied by Veronika Burcar Alm, Anna Rypi and Malin Åkerström.

Narratives on being harassed by the police told by young people with an immigrant background have been studied in a Nordic collaborative project (David Wästerfors and Veronika Burcar Alm).

Societal concerns and ways to measure fear of crime is investigated in a quantitative and qualitative study by doctoral student Hanna Sahlin.