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Gomes, S., Criminalidade, Etnicidade e Desigualdades Análise comparativ a entre os grupos nacionais dos PALOP e Leste Europeu e o grupo étnico cigano (Criminality, Ethnicty and Inequalities. Comparative analysis between foreigners from PALOP countries and Eastern Europe and the Roma), Tese de Doutoramento em Sociologia, Escola de Ciências Sociais da Universidade do Minho, 2013

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Type of publication

Study - qualitative research

Geographical coverage


Area/location of interest

Not applicable - national level

Type of Institution



Escola de Ciências Sociais da Universidade do Minho

Main Thematic Focus

Discrimination Racism & xenophobia

Target Population


Key findings

The research argues that the existence of a media production and reproduction of distorted images of the criminal reality related to immigrants/foreigners and gypsies has implications in the formation of stereotypes and serves as the basis for creating moral panics. The outcomes showed that the justice system penalises or selects the prisoners based on their ethnicity / nationality, as well as on their objective living positions, which include variables such as gender and class. The author considers that crimes are effectively a result of combined effects of inequality and social exclusion processes, which contribute to the prejudices and stereotypes, and unveils diverse forms of institutional and daily racism.

Methodology (Qualitative/Quantitative and exact type used, questionnaires etc)

The research was based on the qualitative analysis of media news from different national newspapers and on qualitative interviews performed inside different prison facilities. The 68 interviews involved prison prison guards, representatives of prison management and prisoners. A total of 540 individual files of prisoners within the six prison facilities were also reviewed in order to characterise the universe of prisoners with the relevant characteristics and to select the interviewees.

Sample details and representativeness

The study surveyed and analysed a total of 114 news from 4 national online daily newpapers during a period of two years (January, 1st 2008 and December 31st 2009) . The news were selected according to the following criterion: reference to criminal acts involving Eastern European citizens, individuals from PALOP countries and Roma individuals. A total of 30 prison guards, 9 direction members and 68 prisoners (48 male and 20 female) were interviewed in 6 Portuguese male and female prisons. The six prisons selected were located in the two geographical areas where foreigners and immigrants are concentrated (Lisbon and Porto areas). The interviews were conducted between January and December 2010. A total of 540 individual files of prisoners (from the above mentioned nationalities) was also collected and analysed.

DISCLAIMERThe information presented here is collected under contract by the FRA's research network FRANET. The information and views contained do not necessarily reflect the views or the official position of the FRA.