PANEL: Place, Race and Politics Roundtable and Book Launch
Authors: Leanne Weber (University of Canberra), Jarrett Blaustein (Monash University), Kathryn Benier (Monash University), Rebecca Wickes (Monash University), Diana Johns (University of Melbourne)
Discussants: Professor Murray Lee (Sydney University), Dr Godwin Masuka (Community Advocate and Researcher).
This roundtable stems from the publication of a new book analysing the causes and impacts of the media-fuelled crisis about so-called ‘African gangs’ in Melbourne. Place, Race and Politics: The anatomy of a law and order crisis (published by Emerald) has its origins in a roundtable held at the 2018 ANZSOC conference in Melbourne at which the authors and their community collaborators discussed findings from separate research projects that shed light on different aspects of that phenomenon. The event took place shortly after the 2018 state election at which the ‘African gangs’ discourse had reached its peak. The authors then brought their work together, drawing inspiration from the classic text Policing the Crisis, to develop a comprehensive, empirically supported analysis of the racialized and politicized public discourse, policing practices and community attitudes during that period that had a profound impact on African-Australian communities. The roundtable will provide an opportunity to explore the strengths and weaknesses of the book and identify its contribution to our understanding of these socially destructive events.