1st Edition

British Pakistanis and Desistance Poverty, Prison and Identity

By Mohammed Qasim, Colin Webster Copyright 2024

    Focusing on the lives of first- and second-generation British Pakistani young adult men and those approaching middle age who offend or have offended and the experiences of their fathers bringing them up in a de-industrialised city, this book examines the influence of social relations on their moves toward and away from crime, particularly the impact of father-son relationships. It seeks to understand their transitions as they aged; the meanings they place on their ethno-cultural, social and economic marginalization; and the licit and illicit opportunities and constraints that influence their identity and social integration as well as their place in British society.

    British Pakistanis and Desistance focuses on the distinct context, relations and situations in which British Pakistani young adult offending and desistance takes place, such as family formation, education, prison, neighbourhood change and long-term changes in the types, availability and quality of work. Sketching a ‘life-course’ approach, it locates desistance theory and its application within the relationship between biography and social structure, using a case study of entrepreneurial criminality as an attempt at recovery from deindustrialisation.

    An accessible and compelling read, this book will appeal to students and scholars of criminology, sociology, desistance, social policy and to all those interested in the lived experience of British Pakistani men.

    1. Introduction: British Pakistanis and desistance 2. Overcoming challenges conducting ethnographic research with young British Pakistani Muslim Offenders 3. A political economy of desistance 4. The Boys: Islamic identity, prison and desistence 5. The drug dealers: entrepreneurial criminality 6. The ex-rioters: long-term consequences of early imprisonment 7. Fathers and sons: intergenerational effects of deindustrialisation in Bradford 8. Understanding factors contributing to heroin use among British Pakistanis 9. Discussion and conclusion


    Mohammed Qasim is a visiting fellow at the Mannheim Centre for Criminology, London School of Economics, UK.

    Colin Webster is Emeritus Professor of Criminology at Leeds Beckett University, UK.