Alternative subcultures and hate crime
This chapter explores the key arguments on either side of the debate on alternative subcultures and hate crime and raises broader questions about contrasting understandings of the concept of hate crime itself. It provides some of the core arguments relating to an emerging area of policy, practice and academic study within the UK: the targeted victimisation of those within alternative subcultures. The chapter suggests that various aspects of this victimisation are comparable with that which recognised hate crime victim groups suffer, including the frequency and nature of ‘low-’ and ‘high-level’ incidents, and their potential psychological impact upon the victim and those in their community. The frequency of its occurrence means that being the subject of targeted harassment can become an integral part of being involved in visually distinctive subcultures. One of the most frequently raised objections rests on the contention that, unlike traditional hate crime groups, subcultures represent a lifestyle choice rather than an ascribed aspect of identity.