Journal Article

Spaces of harassment: a multilevel analysis of the role of community ethnic composition, segregation and social disorganisation among ethnic minorities in Britain

November 12, 2021

Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies

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This paper examines the community-level drivers of ethnic minorities’ experiences of harassment in Britain, particularly the role of community ethnic structure (ethnic composition, ethnic segregation and ethnic-change), socio-economic disadvantage, and residential stability. Drawing on an ethnic minority-booster sample of a large-scale UK panel dataset, we address several potential shortcomings with prior analyses to make novel contributions, including taking a multilevel approach, using selfreported harassment data and not police statistics, testing across multiple geographic-scales, and measuring both actual harassment experiences and fear of future harassment. Key findings suggest minorities in areas with a higher share of Whites report a higher likelihood of harassment and that living in more residentially segregated areas increases minorities’ likelihoods of harassment. We also find strong evidence that socio-economic disadvantage and residential instability foster harassment. We find that these same community-level drivers are also significant for minorities’ fear of harassment; in part, because experiences of harassment affect the victim’s fear of future harassment, but also because harassment experiences spill over to impact fear among a victim’s close social contacts. These findings have important implications for the theorising of harassment and support the inclusion of community-level measures in national policy to reduce harassment.