What are ‘Sites of Resistance’? We understand these spaces to be the intersections where state power and its impact on the lives of those who experience injustice is revealed. The ‘site’ may then be both a physical space of meeting, but is also conceptualised as a consciousness raising space where, by coming together, individuals, families and communities, with supporters and other stakeholders, make sense of injustice as experienced and endured, together. Through this collective awakening the group can draw strength and generate strategies to challenge state power. It is in such spaces that resistance can be developed, nurtured, discussed and actioned. Similarly, we conceptualise this website as a ‘site of resistance’, a space wherein the themes and commitments highlighted below reveal the core principles of our work.
- In order to support collective sites of resistance we must re-humanise the ‘Other’, those individuals, groups and communities who have been socially, politically and economically marginalised.
- Acknowledge that ‘crime’ and the response to crime is constructed in the context of power, driving inequalities and injustice in its disproportionate application to particular groups and communities;
- Refuse to accept State or institutional narratives, alongside a commitment to not uncritically reproduce the assumed ‘reality’ of the communities reflected in our research;
- Recognise the value of building broad alliances for collective thought and action.
Attentive social research can facilitate the demands of campaigns and groups for an oppositional agenda and exploit the contradictions which inevitably exist within powerful institutions and systems. These become the sites of resistance, for the disruption of the narrative or accepted truths. Working collectively, the challenge is to build a critical voice to support and empower sites of resistance. Such spaces demand that we remain attuned to injustice’s ‘touch’ (Tate, 2016) and sensitive to the pains of structural harms discriminations and inequalities which lie at the heart of institutional processes of criminalisation and injustice.