Criminalising culture?: a critical exploration of the Impact of UK khat prohibition on the Somali community in London

Richards, William (2015) Criminalising culture?: a critical exploration of the Impact of UK khat prohibition on the Somali community in London. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    Until it was prohibited in the UK in June 2014, chewing the plant-based stimulant khat was a popular, albeit controversial, pastime among members of the Somali diaspora in Britain. Its prohibition was justified by the UK government on the grounds that it had been linked to social harms (health issues, familial problems, unemployment etc.), and that its prohibited status in other countries meant that the UK risked becoming a central hub for its illicit onward trafficking. This decision was made despite two government reviews which concluded that khat prohibition was unnecessary.
    Using secondary data and previous literature from the UK and abroad, this study examines the historical background to Somali migration and khat use in the UK. It then explores the reported links between khat use and the health and social harms that were put forward in justification for its ban. It argues that these harms can equally be attributed to the troubled history that has surrounded Somali migration to the UK; and that prohibition risks exacerbating the very problems it was intended to resolve.
    Finally, using qualitative research methods, the study sought the opinions of eight Somali community members. This research examined the extent to which the issues that justified khat prohibition had in fact been resolved by its introduction. It also assessed whether any of the forecasted negative outcomes have since arisen.
    In conclusion the study found that whilst health and social conditions had improved for many, others had been left isolated from their community or pushed into socially unregulated patterns of khat, drug and alcohol consumption. Finally, in recognition of its limited scope, the study recommends the need for future research to examine the impact of khat prohibition on Somali acculturation trends.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2016 12:30
    Last Modified: 22 Feb 2016 12:30
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/19863

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