School of Applied Sciences student Abigail Cunningham (pictured) is the University’s first recipient of a Carnegie Trust PhD Scholarship Award.
Drawing on a Foucauldian theoretical framework and using narrative discourse analysis, her project will explore Scottish-Pakistanis’ experiences of ‘policing’ in everyday life, including institutional, community, and self-policing.
UK policy responses to terrorist threats have contributed to relationships of mistrust between British-Asian communities and police and to increasing incidents of hate crime against them. There is a lack of in-depth, qualitative research exploring the reasons for underreporting of hate crime, and few studies include the perspectives of Scottish ethnic minority citizens.
Abigail’s PhD aims to examine the idea of Scotland as an inclusive community from the perspective of Scottish-Pakistanis, and problematize the way ethnic minority groups participate in, respond to, and internalise policing on multiple levels. The study will conduct 30 in-depth face-to-face interviews with Scottish-Pakistanis from urban and semi-rural areas in Scotland.
In providing an understanding of the experiences of Scottish Pakistanis, findings will be of significant benefit to policy makers and practitioners, and will assist policing organisations in Scotland to improve their engagement with minorities.
Abigail’s supervisory team consists of Liz Aston as Director of Studies, with Grant Jeffrey and Taulant Guma as co-supervisors, highlighting the interdisciplinary nature of the PhD and expertise of the supervisory team across criminology and policing, human geography and migration, and critical community psychology.
Liz said, “The University has a supportive and well-resourced research environment for postgraduates, networked to external training opportunities. With Edinburgh Napier being a member of the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science and host university of the Scottish Institute for Policing Research, Abigail will have access to a range of training courses, summer schools, postgraduate conferences and a supportive community of PhD students and academics.
“Abigail’s intellectual capacity and passion for exploring migration were evident in her academic record, reference and personal statement. She is one of our Social Sciences graduates, with great work and life experience and contacts. She has also been doing some teaching with us over the past year.
“Her Carnegie PhD Scholarship Award is a wonderful achievement and testament to her excellence. Grant, Taulant and I have enjoyed working with Abigail to develop her proposal and we are excited to get started!”