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Cultures of Stigma, Deviance and Dissent

Cultures of Stigma, Deviance and Dissent

Cultures of Stigma Deviance and Dissent

Cultures of Stigma, Deviance and Dissent

Led by Dr Kelly Hignett and Professor Jayne Raisborough.

How and why are some groups and individuals marginalised? What forms does this marginalisation take? What does the marginalization of particular groups achieve? Researchers in the Cultures of Stigma, Deviance and Dissent strand ask these questions as part of a wider concern to expose and oppose the processes of social inequality and social injustice. We examine the cultural mechanisms that produce a frightful, dangerous and threatening ‘Other’ in the collective consciousness and we investigate how  ‘commonsense’ knowledge about various others takes hold in our everyday perceptions, habits, institutional practices, legal frameworks and political and socio-economic rationalities to become the ‘way things are’.   Our investigations pay sharp attention to historic and more contemporary social contexts, including the history of crime. Contextualising specific exclusions within wider political, economic, social, cultural and ideological systems enables to us to ask critical questions about the qualified nature of citizenship, personhood and humankind.

Kelly’s research relates to twentieth century central and eastern Europe with particular focus on communist-era repression, political persecution, experiences of imprisonment and forced labour, criminality, social deviance and dissent. She can be contacted on

Jayne’s research focuses on the function stigma plays in the construction of ideal neoliberal citizens. She examines the class stigma, weightism and the social marginalisation of ageing and elderly citizens. She can be contacted on


Deviance and Dissent in Communist Eastern Europe

Dr Kelly Hignett

Dr Kelly Hignett’s current research primarily focuses on experiences of communist-era repression in Central and Eastern Europe, with a particular focus on Czechoslovakia. Her research utilises archival documentation, personal testimonies and oral history to explore the multifaceted political, ideological and socio-economic dimensions of communist-era repression; an evolving field of study with significant potential for innovative research.

Kelly’s most recent publication is a co-authored book about Women’s Experiences of Repression in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe (Routledge, 2017). She is currently working on two research projects: the first is a monograph-length study of the 1952 Slánský show trial which seeks to go beyond the political aspects of the case to consider its wider economic, social and cultural importance; the second analyses the evolution of incarceration and forced labour in Czechoslovakia 1938-1968, spanning the years of Nazi occupation, post-war upheaval and the early decades of communist rule.

Kelly also carries forward a previous interest into criminality and social deviance in communist Eastern Europe, which formed the basis of her PhD research and previous publications. More broadly, she is interested in methodological approaches to life writing, personal narratives and oral testimonies; histories of imprisonment and forced labour and the history of crime on a more broadly comparative and transnational basis.

Key Publications

  • Hignett, K, Ilic, M, Leinarte, D and Snitar, C. (2017) Women’s Experiences of Repression in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Routledge.
  • Hignett, K. (2016) ‘”We had to become criminals to survive under Communism!”’ Testimonies of Petty Criminality and Everyday Morality in Late Socialist Central Europe’ in Ilic, M and Leinarte, D (Eds.) The Soviet Past in the Post-Socialist Present: Methodology and Ethics in Russian, Baltic and Central European Oral History and Memory Studies. Routledge.
  • Hignett, K (2011) ‘Transnational Organised Crime and the Global Village’ in F Allum and S Gilmour (Eds). The Routledge Handbook of Transnational Organized Crime. Routledge.
  • Hignett,K (2011) ‘Crime in Communist and Post-Communist Eastern Europe’, Law, Crime and History.
  • K Hignett (2010) ‘The Changing Face of Organised Crime in Post-Communist East Central Europe’, Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe, 18/1, (April 2010), pp. 71-88.

Creating & Developing Coaches

Led by Dr Daniel Kilvington

Creating & Developing Coaches is a direct intervention into the under-representation of British Asians within football, at all levels.  The scheme aims open up more opportunities for BAME players and football staff by increasing the number of, and empowering, coaches and volunteers from BAME backgrounds and also enabling tighter support networks. A key strand to this work is tackling the barriers to participation : in this case on-line/ social media abuse

Key Publications

  • Kilvington, D (2016) British Asians, Exclusion and the Football Industry, London: Routledge
  • Kilvington, D and Price, J (2018) Tackling social media abuse? Critically assessing English football’s response to online racism, Communication & Sport
  • Kilvington, D (2017) Two decades and little change: British Asians, football and calls for action. Soccer & Society
  • Kilvington, D (2018) Does English football warrant the Rooney Rule? Assessing the thoughts of black and Asian coaches (Sport in Society, 2018)
  • Kilvington, D (2017) ‘British Asians and football: Exploring the rise and popularity of Punjabi and Bangla fan groups’, D. Hassan and C. Acton (eds) Sport and Contested Identities, London: Routledge

Criminal Pasts

This body of work has been funded by two AHRC wards: Our Criminal Ancestors, with Dr. Helen Johnston at the University of Hull, and working with the Hull History Centre. This follow-on project has evolved from the Our Criminal Past: Caring for the Futureproject, which was funded by the AHRC between 2013 and 2014.

Heather is also working on a BA/Leverhulme funded pilot study on the history of Borstal, institutions for young adult prisoners which were established at the start of the twentieth century. The pilot project is the starting point for the first full first study of the borstal system and its young inmates.

Titled Borstal Lives: Young People, Crime and Institutionalisation in Twentieth-Century England and Wales, the research has three main objectives:

  1. To assess the scope and availability of records and investigate the feasibility of an extended research project on the history of Borstal institutions and the Borstal Training Programme.
  2. Considering the extent to which the system was influenced by the earlier success of the reformatory school establishment of whether it developed in more distinct ways and the extent to which Borstal can be defined as a reformatory or punitive institution.
  3. To contribute to historical and current policy debates, by disseminating the research in academic, public and policy forums.

Key Publications

  • Shore, H., Cox, P. and Godfrey, B. (2018) Doing Criminological Research on the History of Victims. In: Francis, P. ed. Doing Criminological Research. 3rd. Sage.
  • Shore, H. (2016) Organised Crime, Criminality and the ‘Gangster’. In: Kilday, A. and Nash, D. eds. Murder and Mayhem: Crime in Twentieth Century Britain. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Shore, H. (2015) London's Criminal Underworlds, c. 1720 - c. 1930: A Social and Cultural History. Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan.
  • Shore, H. and Johnson, H. (2015) Thinking about the Future of Our Criminal Past. Law, Crime and History, 5 (1) March, pp. 5-11. (Article)
  • Shore, H. (2014) Rogues of the racecourse. Media History, 20 (4) August, pp. 352-367.

Stigma and the production of neoliberal citizens

Led Professor Jayne Raisborough, Dr Lisa Taylor and Dr Katherine Harrison

Neoliberalism, in all its diversity and contradictions, depends on the creation and supply of citizens who are best able to translate social conditions of precarity into personal challenges and entrepreneurial opportunities. Across a range of writing projects, we explore the role of lifestyle programming and reality documentaries in shaping an ideal citizenry through the stigmatisation of ‘failed’ citizens and the idealisation of the ’good’

Key Publications

  • Raisborough, J (2016) Fat Bodies, Health and the Media. Palgrave
  • Raisborough, J., Barnes, M., Henwood, F and Ward, L (2014) Stretching Middle Age : the lessons and labours of active aging in the makeover show Media, Culture & Society. 36 (8): 1069-1083 (first published online 4 August 2014)
  • Raisborough, J (2014) Why we should be watching more Trash TV: Exploring the value of an analysis of the makeover show to Fat Studies Scholars Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society 3(2):155-165.
Art Gallery Exhibition

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