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Racist peer victimisation among young people: Cultures of coping and support (VP2213)

   Education & Social Sciences

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  Dr Nicola Hay, Dr Heather Myles, Dr M Sapouna  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

In the UK, hate crimes in schools have more than doubled since the Brexit referendum and the number of children being suspended from school for racism has reached a record high with 4,904 incidents reported in 2018/19 (Anti-bullying Alliance, 2020; BBC, 2020; Evening Standard, 2020). Furthermore, 95% of young Black people report that they have heard and witnessed the use of racist language at school (YMCA, 2020). And in a survey of teachers, 18% reported that they had witnessed bullying targeting ethnicity or race either ‘often’ or ‘very often’ (Department of Education, 2020).

Although racist peer victimisation has been identified as an important stressor among young people, very few studies internationally have explored the way in which those victimised due to their ethnicity, culture, national status, or faith cope (Sapouna et al., in press; Stevens et al., 2016). The limited research that has been conducted to date frames coping as an individualistic process, where the focus is on how youth deal with racist victimisation (Banerjee et al., 2020; Mendez et al., 2014). However, the literature suggests that it is important to also consider how wider socio-cultural and structural resources can influence the development of coping among youth (Park et al., 2018; Spencer & Swanson, 2013).

To fill this gap, the aim of this project is to explore how structural (families, communities, institutions, peer groups, social capital) and cultural (religion, values, recognition) ethnic differences affect the way in which ethnic minority youth respond to being victimised by their peers. Addressing this gap can build evidence to shape more effective and targeted strategies to support young people and mitigate against the negative effects of racist peer victimisation.

The project objectives are:

1)     To document the lived experience of online and offline racist peer victimisation among under-represented categories of youth in Scotland.

2)     To examine how young people, their families and their communities cope with racist peer victimisation and how individual, socio-cultural and structural factors influence these responses.

3)     To understand parents’ and peers’ messages to young people that include culturally relevant coping strategies for how to deal with racist peer victimisation.

4)     To inform the development of culturally responsive policies and resources that can support victimised young people in the future.

The project will involve working with young people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and their parents. Arts-based methods will be used to access young people’s lived experiences.

The candidate will receive in-house training and supervision from experts on racism, peer victimisation and qualitative research methods. Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum 2:1 honours undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a related area (e.g., education, psychology, criminology, sociology, social work). A Master’s degree with a significant research methods component would be preferred.

Funding Notes

The funded studentships are open to UK citizens and EU applicants with pre-settled or settled status. Funding for applicants meeting these criteria will cover UK fees and they will also receive an annual stipend (currently £15,609)


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