The Open UniversitySkip to content

Applied social science? academic contributions to the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry and their consequences

Murji, Karim (2010). Applied social science? academic contributions to the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry and their consequences. Journal of Social Policy, 39(3) pp. 343–357.

Full text available as:
[img] PDF (Version of Record) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (138Kb)
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


A decade on from the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, this article examines the contributions of social scientists to the enquiry on two key issues: the meaning of institutional racism and the police response to racial violence. These academic inputs are characterised as instrumental and reflexive forms of knowledge. While social science applied to social policy is most effective in instrumental mode, rather than reflexively, there are various factors – suchas the interpretation of evidence, media debate and the role of prominent individuals – that are more significant
in assessing its consequences. The impact of these factors mean that, although academic work on these issues has been influential, the outcome appears to be that institutional racism has run its course and been disowned or downgraded, while racial violence has become subsumed within the broader category of hate crime. It is argued that the relationship between academic knowledge and policy requires a better grasp of the complexities of applying social science, and that is what this article aims to make a contribution to.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2010 Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 1469-7823
Academic Unit/Department: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > History, Religious Studies, Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG)
International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research (ICCCR)
Harm and Evidence Research Collaborative (HERC)
Item ID: 19805
Depositing User: Karim Murji
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2010 12:01
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2016 21:16
Share this page:


Scopus Citations

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

▼ Automated document suggestions from open access sources

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340