Go Home? – Some thoughts

Teaching the ‘Survey Research Methods: From Design to Analysis’ course at LSE’s Summer School – and my bike being stolen – meant that I’ve been commuting a lot by bus, and had plenty of time to read. In the last couple of days I have been reading “Go Home?”, this short and captivating book.

Even though I am familiar, and thus feel closer to quantitative methods, this book employing mostly qualitative research is a fascinating read. Admittedly, being a migrant in the UK means that this book is really close to home, but even beyond that, I found the researchers’ intellectual honesty very refreshing. At the end of each chapter, there is a “Living Research” section where the authors discuss methodological questions and the paths they chose to take. Even though sometimes I disagreed with the decisions they made (for instance their suspicion towards the media), their honesty and transparency was certainly inspiring and should be pursued by other researchers. (See Moravcsik’s (2014) great article on this.)

At the same time, I found the policies the government had pursued very alarming. Although I am not an expert in this field, and probably don’t know enough of the particulars of this programme – I haven’t even finished the book yet! -, both the textual and visual messaging seemed to go against everything I have read in how trust should be established and maintained in migrant communities, and how such practices can aid the police’s work and potentially the fight against terrorism (Cherney and Murphy 2013; Huq et al. 2011; Murphy and Cherney 2012).

With Brexit looming on the horizon primarily because of public hostility towards immigration, this book should be on everyone’s reading list who is at least a little interested in the subject matter.

Cherney, A. and K. Murphy. 2013. “Policing Terrorism with Procedural Justice: The Role of Police Legitimacy and Law Legitimacy.” Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology 46(3):403–21.
Huq, A., T. Tyler, and S. Schulhofer. 2011. “Mechanisms for Eliciting Cooperation in Counter Terrorism Policing: Evidence from the United Kingdom.” Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 8(4):728–61.
Moravcsik, A. 2014. “Transparency: The Revolution in Qualitative Research.” PS – Political Science and Politics 47(1):48–53.
Murphy, K. and A. Cherney. 2012. “Understanding Cooperation with Police in a Diverse Society.” British Journal of Criminology 52(1):181–201.

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