Sensitive Stuff and Expressive Caution: Notes on the Research Process in Studies of Ethnicities Associated with Crime

Malin Åkerström, Veronika Burcar Alm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Questions related to crime and migration are delicate matters, potentially because of associations with ethnicity, racism and oppressive politics and ideology in both the past and the present. The delicate nature of issues of crime and deviance may result in expressive caution exercised by both researchers and those studied. In this article, we discuss these dynamics in the research process in terms of access, data collection, writing and discussions of findings. We base our discussion on examples from our ethnographic studies dealing with youth, crime and ethnicity. Through our empirical examples, we show that researchers in this field need to deal with subtle markers and signals of sensitivity. However, getting all caught up in sensitivity could lead to avoidance of doing this type of research at all. Instead, we argue, sensitivity can be included as an important, as well as rewarding, part of the research.
Original languageSwedish
Pages (from-to)265-283
Number of pages18
JournalNordic Journal of Migration Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)

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