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Racialized Young Women Amid the Everyday Stigmatization of the ‘Anglo-Negroid’ Family in Interwar Britain: A Decolonial Perspective

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter

Publication date11/03/2024
Host publicationMarginalised Voices in Criminology
EditorsKelly Stockdale, Michelle Addison
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages18
ISBN (electronic)9781003260967
ISBN (print)9781032198095, 9781032198101
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This chapter uses the decolonial lens to offer an expanded account of race, gender, and penalty in British youth justice. The account uses a cohort of racialised young women in the context of British interwar youth penal reform as a starting point for this expansion. Despite extant deviance invention scholarship mapping the plight of White working-class youth during this period, this is an era within which race remains marginalised. In this way, the decolonial lens does for race and gender what deviance invention previously enabled for non-racialised working-class youth. Drawing on a series of historic documents including the Fletcher Report, the Eugenics Review and the Liverpool University Settlement records, the more expanded understanding of penalty offered here explores the relationship between racial stigmatisation and gendered penalty. This is a correlate of the epistemic inequality epitomised by what is explored in this chapter as the reform era concomitant colonial knowledge development process. The chapter adapts the decolonial perspective of philosopher and poet wa Thiong’o (2018, 2005 [1986]) about colonialism’s totalising harms on the mind, body, and wider community of the colonised. This is a logic asserting the centrality of penalty (and its cognate exclusion), underpinning modernity’s purported spread of neutrality, proportionality, and rationality. Ultimately, the logic of the wider punitive effect reflects my original contribution, starting with writing race into British interwar youth penal reform history. The wider punitive logic does what decolonisation exhorts, seeking to expand the orthodox criminological understanding of race, youth and gendered penalty by offering a vocabulary for interpreting the relationship between epistemic (marginality) domination, the active process of racial stigmatisation, and penalty.