Monday, August 31, 2009

Theoretical Criminology 13(3)

Empathetic identification and punitiveness: A middle-range theory of individual differences
James D. Unnever and Francis T. Cullen
Studies reveal that some Americans are more willing than others to endorse harsh measures to control crime. We advance this literature by presenting a model that offers an integrated explanation of why some Americans are more punitive than others. Scholars have found that people construct images of offenders that reflect those disseminated by elites, the media, and popular culture. These images can vary across types of crime and can change over time. We posit that individual differences in punitiveness are related to whether people empathize with the images they construct of ‘typical’ stereotyped offenders. We conclude by offering a systematic model that summarizes the proposed theoretical perspective and helps to illuminate both implications for macro-level theories and future avenues of investigation.

A tale of two capitalisms: Preliminary spatial and historical comparisons of homicide rates in Western Europe and the USA
Steve Hall and Craig McLean
This article examines comparative homicide rates in the United States and Western Europe in an era of increasingly globalized neo-liberal economics. The main finding of this preliminary analysis is that historical and spatial correlations between distinct forms of political economy and homicide rates are consistent enough to suggest that social democratic regimes are more successful at fostering the socio-cultural conditions necessary for reduced homicide rates. Thus Western Europe and all continents and nations should approach the importation of American neo-liberal economic policies with extreme caution. The article concludes by suggesting that the indirect but crucial causal connection between political economy and homicide rates, prematurely pushed into the background of criminological thought during the ‘cultural turn’, should be returned to the foreground.

Beyond ‘so what?’ criminology: Rediscovering realism
Roger Matthews
There has been a growing concern about the lack of policy relevance of criminology in recent years. Two influential responses to this dilemma have been presented. On one hand, it has been argued that academic criminologists should become more active in mobilizing points of consensus about what works, while on the other hand it has been suggested that there should be a division of labour among academics and that the subject be broken down into public, professional, policy and critical criminologies. This article argues that neither of these responses are tenable and instead calls for an approach that links theory, method and intervention with the aim of developing a coherent critical realist approach that is able to go beyond the existing forms of ‘so what?’ criminology.

Confronting the reality of anti-social behaviour
Sadie Parr
A significant body of thinking around the UK Government’s anti-social behaviour (ASB) policy agenda draws its inspiration from post-Foucauldian governmentality theory. This is an indispensable body of work that has been particularly productive when grounded in empirical research studies which have critically analysed the way governmental rationalities are translated into policy ‘on the ground’. This article argues, however, that there is a need to move beyond ‘the social construction of reality’ thesis prevalent in this approach and direct our attention to ontologically focused questions. It contends that critical realism could effectively complement governmentality perspectives and deepen our understanding of ASB policy by enabling researchers to move beyond a focus on the ‘construction’ of ASB to the ‘reality’ of ASB.

Theoretical Criminology, August 2009: Volume 13, No. 3

Criminology 47(3)

Do Returning Parolees Affect Neighborhood Crime? A Case Study Of Sacramento
John R. Hipp, Daniel K. Yates
This study used a unique data set that combines information on parolees in the city of Sacramento, CA, over the 2003–2006 time period with information on monthly crime rates in Sacramento census tracts over this same period, providing us a fine-grained temporal and geographical view of the relationship between the change in parolees in a census tract and the change in the crime rate. We find that an increase in the number of tract parolees in a month results in an increase in the crime rate. We find that more violent parolees have a particularly strong effect on murder and burglary rates. We find that the social capital of the neighborhood can moderate the effect of parolees on crime rates: Neighborhoods with greater residential stability dampen the effect of parolees on robbery rates, whereas neighborhoods with greater numbers of voluntary organizations dampen the effect of parolees on burglary and aggravated assault rates. Furthermore, this protective effect of voluntary organizations seems strongest for those organizations that provide services for youth. We show that the effect of single-parent households in a neighborhood is moderated by the return of parolees, which suggests that these reunited families may increase the social control ability of the neighborhood.

Short-Term Changes In Adult Arrest Rates Influence Later Short-Term Changes In Serious Male Delinquency Prevalence: A Time-Dependent Relationship
Ralph B. Taylor, Philip W. Harris, Peter R. Jones, Doris Weiland, R. Marie Garcia, Eric S. Mccord
The impacts of quarterly adult arrest rates on later male serious delinquency prevalence rates were investigated in Philadelphia police districts (N = 23) over several years using all male delinquents aged 10–15 years who were mandated to more than "straight" probation. An ecological deterrence model expects more arrests to lead to less delinquency later. A community justice or mass incarceration model, the ecological version of general strain theory, and an ecologized version of the procedural justice model, each anticipates more arrests lead to more delinquency later. Investigating quarterly lags from 3 to 24 months between adult arrests and later delinquency, the results showed a time-dependent relationship. Models with short lags showed the negative relationship expected by ecological deterrence theory. Models with lags of about a year and a half showed the positive relationship expected by the other three theories. Indicators needed so future works can gauge the relative merits of each theoretical perspective more accurately are described. The spatial distributions of current and 1920s delinquency rates were compared.

Estimating A Dose-Response Relationship Between Length Of Stay And Future Recidivism In Serious Juvenile Offenders
Thomas A. Loughran, Edward P. Mulvey, Carol A. Schubert, Jeffrey Fagan, Alex R. Piquero, Sandra H. Losoya
The effect of sanctions on subsequent criminal activity is of central theoretical importance in criminology. A key question for juvenile justice policy is the degree to which serious juvenile offenders respond to sanctions and/or treatment administered by the juvenile court. The policy question germane to this debate is finding the level of confinement within the juvenile justice system that maximizes the public safety and therapeutic benefits of institutional confinement. Unfortunately, research on this issue has been limited with regard to serious juvenile offenders. We use longitudinal data from a large sample of serious juvenile offenders from two large cities to 1) estimate a causal treatment effect of institutional placement, as opposed to probation, on future rate of rearrest and 2) investigate the existence of a marginal effect (i.e., benefit) for longer length of stay once the institutional placement decision had been made. We accomplish the latter by determining a dose-response relationship between the length of stay and future rates of rearrest and self-reported offending. The results suggest that an overall null effect of placement exists on future rates of rearrest or self-reported offending for serious juvenile offenders. We also find that, for the group placed out of the community, it is apparent that little or no marginal benefit exists for longer lengths of stay. Theoretical, empirical, and policy issues are outlined.

Is The Antisocial Child Father Of The Abusive Man? A 40-Year Prospective Longitudinal Study On The Developmental Antecedents Of Intimate Partner Violence
Patrick Lussier, David P. Farrington, Terrie E. Moffitt
This prospective longitudinal study examined whether early childhood risk factors contributed to explaining and predicting intimate partner violence (IPV) in midadulthood. Participants included 202 men from the Cambridge longitudinal study who were in an intimate relationship in their mid-40s. Neuropsychological deficits and the presence of a criminogenic family environment were measured between ages 8 and 10. Antisocial behavior was measured between ages 8 and 18. IPV was measured at age 48 using a self-report instrument completed by the participants' female partners. Perpetration and victimization rates were relatively high; violence was mostly mutual, and men were more likely to be victims than perpetrators. Findings indicate that a criminogenic environment increases the risk of IPV by fostering the development of antisocial behavior and neuropsychological deficits. A link also exists between a high level of antisocial behavior during adolescence and the risk of IPV later in life. The results suggest the presence of both continuity and discontinuity of antisocial behavior as childhood risk factors that increase the likelihood of future involvement in IPV, but the role of these risk factors is modest.

Lifestyle, Rational Choice, And Adolescent Fear: A Test Of A Risk-Assessment Framework
Chris Melde
Criminological research on fear of crime primarily has been based on, and supportive of, an opportunity framework. The current research tests an expanded risk-assessment model of fear, which is rooted in an opportunity framework, by incorporating a measure of delinquent lifestyle, which is a known risk factor for victimization, using a sample of youth aged 10–16 years. The findings from longitudinal structural equation models do not support the applicability of a risk-assessment model of fear in adolescence. Namely, although increased involvement in a delinquent lifestyle is associated strongly with an increase in victimization over time, no such association exists with the perceived risk of victimization. Most importantly, as adolescents become more involved in a delinquent lifestyle and are victimized at a higher rate than nondelinquent youth, their fear of victimization actually decreases at a significantly higher rate than more prosocial youth.

U.S. Attorneys And Substantial Assistance Departures: Testing For Interprosecutor Disparity
Cassia Spohn, Robert Fornango
An important and highly discretionary component of the federal sentencing guidelines is the downward departure for providing substantial assistance. Critics charge that the substantial assistance departure, which requires a motion by the prosecutor, may produce the type of unwarranted sentencing disparity that the guidelines were intended to eliminate. Research reveals, for example, that jurisdictional variations are evident in the use of substance assistance departures (Johnson, Ulmer, and Kramer, 2008; Nagel and Schulhofer, 1992), and that the likelihood of receiving the departure is affected by legally irrelevant offender characteristics, which include race, ethnicity, and gender (Mustard, 2001). The purpose of this article is to extend this research by exploring the degree to which decisions regarding substantial assistance departures vary across prosecutors. Using data on offenders sentenced in three U.S. district courts and a multilevel modeling strategy, we investigate whether interprosecutor disparity exists in the likelihood of substantial assistance departures and in the criteria that prosecutors use in deciding whether to file a motion for a substantial assistance departure. Findings indicate that significant interprosecutor variation remains after taking into account offender characteristics, case characteristics, and the district in which the case is adjudicated.

Neighborhood Racial Context And Perceptions Of Police-Based Racial Discrimination Among Black Youth
Eric A. Stewart, Eric P. Baumer, Rod K. Brunson, Ronald L. Simons
Renewed interest has occurred in the United States around racially biased policing. Unfortunately, little is known about the effects of neighborhood social context on black adolescents' experiences with racially biased policing. In the current study, we examined whether perceptions of racially biased policing against black adolescents are a function of neighborhood racial composition, net of other neighborhood- and individual-level factors. Using two waves of data from 763 black adolescents, we found that black adolescents most frequently are discriminated against by the police in predominantly white neighborhoods. This effect especially is pronounced in white neighborhoods that experienced recent growth in the size of the black population. Our results lend support to the "defended" white neighborhood thesis.

Immigration And The Recent Violent Crime Drop In The United States: A Pooled, Cross-Sectional Time-Series Analysis Of Metropolitan Areas
Jacob I. Stowell, Steven F. Messner, Kelly F. Mcgeever, Lawrence E. Raffalovich
A good deal of research in recent years has revisited the relationship between immigration and violent crime. Various scholars have suggested that, contrary to the claims of the classic Chicago School, large immigrant populations might be associated with lower rather than higher rates of criminal violence. A limitation of the research in this area is that it has been based largely on cross-sectional analyses for a restricted range of geographic areas. Using time-series techniques and annual data for metropolitan areas over the 1994–2004 period, we assess the impact of changes in immigration on changes in violent crime rates. The findings of multivariate analyses indicate that violent crime rates tended to decrease as metropolitan areas experienced gains in their concentration of immigrants. This inverse relationship is especially robust for the offense of robbery. Overall, our results support the hypothesis that the broad reductions in violent crime during recent years are partially attributable to increases in immigration.

Testing Social Learning Theory Using Reinforcement's Residue: A Multilevel Analysis Of Self-Reported Theft And Marijuana Use In The National Youth Survey
Jonathan R. Brauer
Critics have expressed concerns regarding measurement strategies or analytic techniques often used in social learning research (Horan and Phillips, 2003; Krohn, 1999; Sampson, 1999; Tittle, 2004). In response to these concerns, this study tests the hypothesized causal relationships among reinforcement, general definitions, and self-reported crime (theft and marijuana use) using a multilevel modeling approach with longitudinal data from the first five waves of the National Youth Survey (NYS), as well as with indirect parent and friend reinforcement measures that incorporate both the assumed products of reinforcement (expected consequences of behavior) and the efficacy of reinforcement (expected influence of the reinforcement source). Within-subject analyses present a challenge to the theory as social learning variables do not covary significantly over time with criminal offending rates. Between-subject analyses offer support for the theory as across-person differences in average parent and friend reinforcement are significantly related to offending rates, and these reinforcement–crime relationships are mediated partially or fully by learned definitions. Implications of these findings are discussed.

The Dynamics Of Crime Regimes
Richard Berk, John Macdonald
Crimes have many features, and the mix of those features can change over time and space. In this article, we introduce the concept of a crime regime to provide some theoretical leverage on collections of crime features and how the collections of features can change. Key tools include the use of principal components analysis to determine the dimensions of crime regimes, visualization methods to help reveal the role of time, summary statistics to quantify crime regime patterns, and permutation procedures to examine the role of chance. Our approach is used to analyze temporal and spatial crime patterns for the city of Los Angeles during an 8-year period. We focus on the number of violent crimes over time and their potential lethality.

Criminology, August 2009: Volume 47, Issue 3

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Criminology and Public Policy 8(3)

"Weapon choice and American political violence": Some policy options
Jack R Greene
Greene examines Richard L. Legault and James C. Hendrickson's research, "Weapon choice and American political violence." Legault and Hendrickson's central argument is that firearm violence differs between those people label criminals and those they label terrorists, but rational choice and situational crime-prevention perspectives and analyses might prove useful for understanding both groups and interdicting such behavior. Their research highlights the differences between federal felons and terrorists, most especially in connection with gaining access to firearms and the use of firearms in the commission of criminal or terrorism acts.

A systemic approach to precursor behaviors
John Wigle
Wigle comments that terrorism metrics are just beginning to emerge, and more work is needed to develop indicators that have an important effect. The academic, law-enforcement, and counterterrorism communities must recognize the value of such data, make it a collection requirement, and finally, develop the capability to interpret the data. Using the latest technology and mathematical models, operations research is a viable option in developing capabilities that optimize terrorism detection and prevention.

Criminologists and terrorism: Finding firearms under lampposts
Brian Forst
Firearms turn up as systematically associated with cases of terrorism--they are more likely to be used by terrorists than by other federal felons. It makes perfectly good sense to restrict the sale or possession of firearms to illegal aliens and people with known terrorist connections or intentions, especially if they have violated laws. Here, Forst discusses prospects in which criminologists can contribute to the development of effective counterterrorism policies.

Critical events in the life trajectories of domestic extremist white supremacist groups: A case study analysis of four violent organizations
Joshua D Freilich, Steven M Chermak, David Caspi
Freilich et al examines the evolution of four domestic far-right racist organizations: Aryan Nations, National Alliance, Public Enemy Number 1 (PEN1), and Oklahoma Constitutional Militia. Information about the groups was compiled through open-source documents, including scholarly, government, watch-group, and media accounts. Freilich et al compare the changes that occurred in these organizations and found that they were influenced by contextual and organizational variables. They focus primarily on the rise of the groups. Also, they examined the fall of the organizations. Three groups declined because of organizational instability and/or responses by law enforcement and nonstate actors, such as watch groups. PEN1--despite periodic internal debates about its mission--has avoided organizational instability and continues to grow.

Data daze
Leonard Weinberg, William Eubank
Weinberg and Eubank comment on Global Terrorism Database. The new GTD collection, however, not only incorporates events involving situations in which the perpetrators and targets are of different national backgrounds, but also it includes domestic terrorist campaigns. The GTD database is then likely to prove exceptionally helpful in providing researchers with important understandings of the status of terrorist violence in different parts of the world. Here, they also discuss ways of addressing the GTD findings.

Patterns of precursor behaviors in the life span of a U.S. environmental terrorist group
Brent L Smith, Kelly R Damphousse
Smith and Damphousse discusses the paucity of data available for assessing the "life span" of a terrorist group. They introduce a new methodology that allows researchers to examine when terrorist groups perform their preincident activities. The findings suggest that differences exist in the temporal patterns of terrorist groups: environmental terrorist groups engage in a relatively short planning cycle compared with right-wing and international terrorists. Smith and Damphousse conclude by examining a case study on "the Family," which is a unique environmental terrorist group that conducted activities over a relatively long period of time. This group provides an interesting contrast to other environmental terrorists. Despite significant organizational differences, their patterns of preparatory conduct were highly similar.

Prisons and fear of terrorism
James Austin
Austin stresses that when people resist invasion and occupation by a foreign and more powerful state by conducting acts of violence, they become labeled as terrorists. Often, these so-called terrorists--especially the leaders of terrorist groups--have no prior criminal behavior that predates their involvement in terrorism. To date, there are no examples of a person who was sentenced to a US prison who later became a terrorist and then inflicted mass destruction on fellow US citizens. But the politics of fear that have been successfully linked to Sept 11, 2001 seem to trump a rational assessment of the potential danger people face from terrorism emanating from the nation's prison system.

Bert Useem, Obie Clayton
Radicalization of U.S. prisoners
Useem and Clayton explore prisoner radicalization, one of the most discussed yet least studied aspects of the domestic terrorism threat. Concern has been expressed that prisoner radicalization poses a high probability threat to the safety of the US. Although the threat of terrorist acts planned in prison is known to be above zero because of a nearly executed terrorist plot hatched in a state prison, the central finding of Useem and Clayton's research is that the actual probability is modest. The reasons for a modest probability are fourfold: Order and stability in US prisons were achieved during the buildup period, prison officials successfully implemented efforts to counter the "importation" of radicalism, correctional leadership infused antiradicalization into their agencies, and inmates' low levels of education decreased the appeals of terrorism.

Smart counterterrorism
William C Banks
Banks considers the policy implications of the article by LaFree, Yang, and Crenshaw in the Aug 2009 issue of Criminology and Public Policy journal. Although he endorses the chief conclusion of the LaFree et al article that greater international cooperation might be the best counterterrorist strategy, he points out barriers to successful implementation of this policy and stresses that it should not occur at the expense of less domestic vigilance. Major barriers to international cooperation on counterterrorism include the absence of internationally recognized definitions of terrorism, the problem of terrorist threats faced by each country being mostly idiosyncratic, the enormous variation in counterterrorist resources of individual nations, and the wariness other countries have regarding real or perceived threats to their sovereignty implied by bilateral or international counterterrorist strategies.

The prison hate machine
Randy Blazak
Blazak assesses the real threat of right-wing extremists in the US. Large and small groups connected to various right-wing ideologies have continued to perpetrate various acts of terrorism and organized criminality. These groups have changed dramatically from the usual cast of characters that law enforcement and civil rights groups concerned themselves with in the late 20th century. Among the growing threats are racist groups that originate in the US penal system.

Criminology and Public Policy, August 2009: Volume 8, Issue 3

Social Problems 56(3)

Networks of Opportunity: Gender, Race, and Job Leads
Steve McDonald, Nan Lin, Dan Ao
Researchers have commonly invoked isolation from job opportunities as an explanation for persistence of gender and race inequality in the labor market, but few have examined whether access to information about job opportunities varies by race and gender. Findings from nationally representative survey data reveal significant white male advantage in the number of job leads received through routine conversations when compared to white women and Hispanics. Differences in social network resources (social capital) partly explain the deficit among Hispanics, but fail to account for the job lead gap between white women and men. Further analyses show that inequality in the receipt of job information is greatest at the highest levels of supervisory authority, where white males receive substantially more job leads than women and minorities.

An Empirical Assessment of Whiteness Theory: Hidden from How Many?
Douglas Hartmann, Joseph Gerteis, Paul R. Croll
This paper employs data from a recent national survey to offer an empirical assessment of core theoretical tenets of whiteness studies. Using survey items developed explicitly for this purpose, we analyze three specific propositions relating to whites' awareness and conception of their own racial status: the invisibility of white identity; the understanding (or lack thereof) of racial privileges; and adherence to individualistic, color-blind ideals. Consistent with whiteness theories, we find that white Americans are less aware of privilege than individuals from racial minority groups and consistently adopt color-blind, individualist ideologies. However, we also find that whites are both more connected to white identity and culture as well as more aware of the advantages of their race than many theoretical discussions suggest. We then combine these results to estimate that 15 percent of white Americans exhibit what we call "categorical whiteness," a consistent and uniform adherence to the theoretical tenets that are the focus of this body of theory. We conclude by suggesting that these findings provide the basis for a more nuanced, contextualized understanding of whiteness as a social phenomenon.

Multiracial Groups and Educational Inequality: A Rainbow or a Divide?
Mary E. Campbell
How do multiracial groups "fit" into the system of racial oppression and privilege in the United States? Are the outcomes of multiracial individuals explained by the Latin Americanization hypothesis (Bonilla-Silva 2002), or a hardening racial divide between blacks and all other racial groups (Gans 1999; Yancey 2006)? Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, I address these questions and show that the educational outcomes of multiracial groups and individuals are not consistently explained by measures of appearance, as suggested by these theories. Although the educational outcomes of Latinos and single-race groups are significantly associated with skin color and the racial perceptions of observers, multiracial young adults' high school and college educational outcomes are not consistently related to either measure of appearance. Parental education and family income are the most important predictors of educational outcomes for multiracial respondents across different types of outcomes. The implications of these findings for racial inequality and research on multiracial groups are discussed.

Exploring the Connection between Immigration and Violent Crime Rates in U.S. Cities, 1980–2000
Graham C. Ousey, Charis E. Kubrin
A popular perception is that immigration causes higher crime rates. Yet, historical and contemporary research finds that at the individual level, immigrants are not more inclined to commit crime than the native born. Knowledge of the macro-level relationship between immigration and crime, however, is characterized by important gaps. Most notably, despite the fact that immigration is a macro-level social process that unfolds over time, longitudinal macro-level research on the immigration-crime nexus is virtually nonexistent. Moreover, while several theoretical perspectives posit sound reasons why over-time changes in immigration could result in higher or lower crime rates, we currently know little about the veracity of these arguments. To address these issues, this study investigates the longitudinal relationship between immigration and violent crime across U.S. cities and provides the first empirical assessment of theoretical perspectives that offer explanations of that relationship. Findings support the argument that immigration lowers violent crime rates by bolstering intact (two-parent) family structures.

Homicide In and Around Public Housing: Is Public Housing a Hotbed, a Magnet, or a Generator of Violence for the Surrounding Community?
Elizabeth Griffiths, George Tita
One of the unintended consequences of decades-long public housing policy has been to concentrate the poor within communities that are at the extreme end of economic disadvantage. More than in other types of disadvantaged communities, living in public housing can sharply circumscribe the social world of its residents and isolate them from people and social institutions in surrounding areas. This study draws on the concepts of social isolation from urban sociology and offending "awareness space" from environmental criminology to explain why violence rates are dramatically higher in public housing compared to otherwise disadvantaged nonpublic housing neighborhoods and, moreover, whether residents or outsiders are responsible for the violence. Using homicide data for the Southeast Policing Area of Los Angeles (1980 through 1999), and relating the location of homicides within and outside of public housing to the places of residence of both victims and offenders, our research reveals that public housing developments are hotbeds of violence involving predominantly local residents. There is no evidence that public housing serves as either a magnet for violence by drawing in nonlocal offenders, or a generator of violence in surrounding neighborhoods. We conclude that this social isolation from the larger community can both escalate violence between residents inside public housing, but also limit their offending awareness space, such that the violence is contained from spreading beyond the development.

Assessing Trends in Women's Violence via Data Triangulation: Arrests, Convictions, Incarcerations, and Victim Reports
Jennifer Schwartz, Darrell J. Steffensmeier, Ben Feldmeyer
Constructionist theories suggest the national rise in female violence arrests may be policy generated because arrest statistics are produced by violent behavior and changing official responses (e.g., net-widening enforcement policies). Normative theories attribute the rise to female behavior changes (e.g., in response to increased freedoms or hardships). We examine whether any narrowing of the arrest gender gap is borne out across offense types of varying measurement reliability, in victimization data, and across two post-arrest criminal justice stages. Advanced time-series analyses over 1980 through 2003 support the constructionist position. First, all sources show little or no increase in women's rates for the more reliably measured offenses of homicide and robbery, and for rape. Second, the assault gender gap narrows for arrests, but holds stable in victimization data. And, third, the assault gender gap narrows moderately for convictions, but is stable for imprisonment, indicating spill-over effects of more expansive arrest policies. Several factors have produced greater female representation in "criminal assault" arrests including (1) proactive policing targeting and formally responding to minor violence and in private contexts, (2) interventionist developmental epistemologies that blur distinctions among violence types and circumstances, (3) the rise of social movements recognizing "hidden" victims, (4) law and order political messages stressing greater accountability, and (5) the somewhat greater decline in male compared to female violence in the late 1990s. The problem of women's violence is largely a social construction. Rather than women becoming more violent, changes in the management of violence increasingly mask differences in the violence levels of women and men.

The Persistence of Educational Disparities in Smoking
Fred C. Pampel
Besides reducing overall smoking prevalence, do anti-tobacco policies to raise prices and restrict locations for smoking also reduce educational disparities? Theories emphasizing proximate disincentives answers yes, suggesting that the policy changes create stronger disincentives for smoking among low education groups. A social resource or fundamental cause theory suggests in contrast that flexible and broad resource advantages of high education groups maintain inequalities in health behavior despite policy changes. Using 24 National Health Interview Surveys, this study tests these claims by describing smoking prevalence by education level from 1976 to 2006 in the United States and giving special attention to the last ten years when tax and clean-air policies have expanded. Logistic regression models that allow trends in smoking to vary by education, race, ethnicity, and nativity find a small decline in educational disparities in smoking. However, this decline stemmed from trends among Hispanic and foreign-born respondents; in contrast, smoking disparities among white, African American, and native-born respondents show no evidence of narrowing. Likely due to the greater resources of high education groups for health behavior, changes in prices and restrictions thus far have done little to reduce educational disparities.

Cinethetic Racism: White Redemption and Black Stereotypes in "Magical Negro" Films
Matthew W. Hughey
Recent research on African American media representations describes a trend of progressive, antiracist film production. Specifically, "magical negro" films (cinema highlighting lower-class, uneducated, and magical black characters who transform disheveled, uncultured, or broken white characters into competent people) have garnered both popular and critical acclaim. I build upon such evidence as a cause for both celebration and alarm. I first examine how notions of historical racism in cinema inform our comprehension of racial representations today. These understandings create an interpretive environment whereby magical black characters are relationally constructed as both positive and progressive. I then advance a production of culture approach that examines 26 films that resonate with mainstream audiences' understanding of race relations and racialized fantasies. I find that these films constitute "cinethetic racism"—a synthesis of overt manifestations of racial cooperation and egalitarianism with latent expressions of white normativity and antiblack stereotypes. "Magical negro" films thus function to marginalize black agency, empower normalized and hegemonic forms of whiteness, and glorify powerful black characters in so long as they are placed in racially subservient positions. The narratives of these films thereby subversively reaffirm the racial status quo and relations of domination by echoing the changing and mystified forms of contemporary racism rather than serving as evidence of racial progress or a decline in the significance of race.

Battlin' on the Corner: Techniques for Sustaining Play
Jooyoung Lee
Drawing from close to four years of ethnographic fieldwork, in-depth interviews, and video recordings, this paper analyzes how inner-city men sustain playful street corner rap "battles" in South Central Los Angeles. Although participants know that the battle is supposed to be a playful way of resolving perceived disrespect in group rap "ciphers," some become "more than play." Indeed, ritual insults have the power to provoke feelings of rage, which can propel individuals into violence. To sustain the playful meanings of battles, participants who offend their opponent use different nonverbal cues to signal, "I was just playing," while the offended party responds with cues signaling, "I do not have any hard feelings." When these moves do not work, onlookers step in between participants, tell jokes, and use other gestures to defuse escalating tensions. The techniques outlined in this article elaborate Erving Goffman's (1974) theories of "keys" and "limits," showing how embodied and emotional cues are used to sustain the shared presumption that "this is play."

Social Problems, August 2009: Volume 56, Issue 3

Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 46(3)

The Heritage of Herding and Southern Homicide: Examining the Ecological Foundations of the Code of Honor Thesis
Robert D. Baller, Matthew P. Zevenbergen, and Steven F. Messner
The authors examine the ecological foundations of the thesis of a "code of honor" as an explanation for southern homicide. Specifically, they consider the effects of indicators of ethnic groups that migrated from herding economies (the Scotch-Irish), cattle and pig herding, and the relative importance of agricultural production across different areas in the Old South. Using county-level data on argument-related White male homicide offenders (1983 to 1998) from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Supplementary Homicide Reports, the authors observe the theoretically expected positive interaction between the proxy measure of the presence of Scotch-Irish communities, namely, the percentage of churches that were Presbyterian in 1850, and the number of cattle and pigs per capita in 1850. They also find a negative effect of an index of crop production in 1850 on argument-related offending. The overall pattern of these findings is highly consistent with the herding thesis advanced by Nisbett and Cohen.

Victim-Offender Racial Dyads and Clearance of Lethal and Nonlethal Assault
Aki Roberts and Christopher J. Lyons
Previous clearance research provides an incomplete test of theories emphasizing the role of both victim and offender status in police discretion. Using National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) data, we investigate the impact of both victim's and offender's race, and, in particular, victim— offender racial dyads on homicide clearance by arrest, using event history (survival) analysis, so that time to clearance and censoring are considered. We also compare models for homicide clearance with those for aggravated assault. For homicides, results indicate that incidents with non-white offenders are more likely to be cleared by arrest than those with white offenders, regardless of victim's race. In contrast, for aggravated assault, dyads are important: incidents involving white victims and offenders are most likely to be cleared, with incidents involving non-white parties least likely to be cleared. Furthermore, the impact of victim—offender racial dyads on clearance is smaller for homicide than for aggravated assault.

Reconsidering the Relationship between Race and Crime: Positive and Negative Predictors of Crime among African American Youth
Bradley R. Entner Wright and C. Wesley Younts
Studies of race and crime have emphasized the effects of social disadvantage and discrimination on increasing crime among African Americans. The authors extend this literature by examining various beliefs and institutions that have developed within African American communities that, in contrast, decrease criminal behavior. A model of cross-canceling, indirect effects between race and crime was developed and tested with data from the National Youth Survey. The results demonstrate that some factors, such as single-parent families, lowered educational attainment, and crime-ridden neighborhoods, increase criminal behavior among African American respondents relative to Whites. However, other factors, such as increased religiosity, strong family ties, and lowered alcohol consumption, decrease crime. These findings highlight the complex effects of race on crime.

Reconsidering the Effect of Self-Control and Delinquent Peers: Implications of Measurement for Theoretical Significance
Ryan C. Meldrum, Jacob T. N. Young, and Frank M. Weerman
Prior research examining the effect of self-control and delinquent peers on crime suggests that both variables are strong correlates and that controlling for one fails to eliminate the effects of the other. Yet prior research was based on indirect and possibly biased indicators of peer delinquency. Recent research using direct measures of delinquent peers, as reported by respondents' peers themselves, indicates that the relationship between peer delinquency and self-reported delinquency is smaller than when respondents report on their peers' behavior. The present study extends this line of work by examining the effect of self-control on delinquency when controlling for these two measures of delinquent peers. The results indicate that the effect of self-control is greater in magnitude in models using the direct measure of peer delinquency relative to models that rely on the traditional measure of delinquent peers. An interaction between self-control and the direct measure of peer delinquency was also found. Implications for future theory testing are discussed.

Gendered Transitions: Within-Person Changes in Employment, Family, and Illicit Drug Use
Melissa Thompson and Milena Petrovic
Although contributing greatly to current criminological theory and research on crime and desistance, Sampson and Laub's theory of age-graded informal social control is limited in explaining gender differences in desistance. The authors addressed this limitation by comparing how adult institutions such as marriage, family, and employment affect illicit drug use for women compared with men. The authors analyzed logistic panel models with fixed effects using National Youth Survey data and found gender differences in the predictors of changes in illicit substance use. Although marriage reduced the odds of drug use for men, it was the importance or strength of a relationship that altered illicit drug use for women. The authors also found other gender differences regarding children and the emphasis placed on employment and family by respondents. This research adds to the existing literature on desistance and furthers knowledge about the gendered nature of Sampson and Laub's theory.

Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, August 2009: Volume 46, Issue 3

Annual Review of Sociology 35

Prefatory Chapter

Working in Six Research Areas: A Multi-Field Sociological Career
Herbert J. Gans

Theory and Methods

Ethnicity, Race, and Nationalism
Rogers Brubaker

Interdisciplinarity: A Critical Assessment
Jerry A. Jacobs, Scott Frickel

Nonparametric Methods for Modeling Nonlinearity in Regression Analysis
Robert Andersen

Gender Ideology: Components, Predictors, and Consequences
Shannon N. Davis, Theodore N. Greenstein

Genetics and Social Inquiry
Jeremy Freese, Sara Shostak

Social Processes

Race Mixture: Boundary Crossing in Comparative Perspective
Edward E. Telles, Christina A. Sue

The Sociology of Emotional Labor
Amy S. Wharton

Societal Responses to Terrorist Attacks
Seymour Spilerman, Guy Stecklov

Intergenerational Family Relations in Adulthood: Patterns, Variations, and Implications in the Contemporary United States
Teresa Toguchi Swartz

Institutions and Culture

Sociology of Sex Work
Ronald Weitzer

The Sociology of War and the Military
Meyer Kestnbaum

Socioeconomic Attainments of Asian Americans
Arthur Sakamoto, Kimberly A. Goyette, ChangHwan Kim

Men, Masculinity, and Manhood Acts
Douglas Schrock, Michael Schwalbe

Formal Organizations

American Trade Unions and Data Limitations: A New Agenda for Labor Studies
Caleb Southworth, Judith Stepan-Norris

Outsourcing and the Changing Nature of Work
Alison Davis-Blake, Joseph P. Broschak

Taming Prometheus: Talk About Safety and Culture
Susan S. Silbey

Political and Economic Sociology

Paradoxes of China's Economic Boom
Martin King Whyte

Political Sociology and Social Movements
Andrew G. Walder

Differentiation and Stratification

New Directions in Life Course Research
Karl Ulrich Mayer

Is America Fragmenting?
Claude S. Fischer, Greggor Mattson

Switching Social Contexts: The Effects of Housing Mobility and School Choice Programs on Youth Outcomes
Stefanie DeLuca, Elizabeth Dayton

Income Inequality and Social Dysfunction
Richard G. Wilkinson, Kate E. Pickett

Educational Assortative Marriage in Comparative Perspective
Hans-Peter Blossfeld

Individual and Society

Nonhumans in Social Interaction
Karen A. Cerulo


Social Class Differentials in Health and Mortality: Patterns and Explanations in Comparative Perspective
Irma T. Elo


The Impacts of Wal-Mart: The Rise and Consequences of the World's Dominant Retailer
Gary Gereffi, Michelle Christian

Annual Review of Sociology 2009, Volume 35

American Sociological Review 74(4)

Bringing Intergenerational Social Mobility Research into the Twenty-first Century: Why Mothers Matter
Beller, Emily
Conventional social mobility research, which measures family social class background relative to only fathers' characteristics, presents an outmoded picture of families—a picture wherein mothers' economic participation is neither common nor important. This article demonstrates that such measurement is theoretically and empirically untenable. Models that incorporate both mothers' and fathers' characteristics into class origin measures fit observed mobility patterns better than do conventional models, and for both men and women. Furthermore, in contrast to the current consensus that conventional measurement strategies do not alter substantive research conclusions, analyses of cohort change in social mobility illustrate the distortions that conventional practice can produce in stratification research findings. By failing to measure the impact of mothers' class, the current practice misses a recent upturn in the importance of family background for class outcomes among men in the United States. The conventional approach suggests no change between cohorts, but updated analyses reveal that inequality of opportunity increased significantly for men born since the mid-1960s compared with those born earlier in the century.

From Credit to Collective Action: The Role of Microfinance in Promoting Women's Social Capital and Normative Influence
Sanyal, Paromita
Can economic ties positively influence social relations and actions? If so, how does this influence operate? Microfinance programs, which provide credit through a group-based lending strategy, provide the ideal setting for exploring these questions. This article examines whether structuring socially isolated women into peer-groups for an explicitly economic purpose, such as access to credit, has any effect on the women's collective social behavior. Based on interviews with 400 women from 59 microfinance groups in West Bengal, India, I find that one third of these groups undertook various collective actions. Improvements in women's social capital and normative influence fostered this capacity for collective action. Several factors contributed to these transformations, including economic ties among members, the structure of the group network, and women's participation in group meetings. Based on these findings, I argue that microfinance groups have the potential to promote women's social capital and normative influence, thereby facilitating women's collective empowerment. I conclude by discussing the need for refining our understanding of social capital and social ties that promote normative influence.

Resource Variation and the Development of Cohesion in Exchange Networks
Schaefer, David R.
Social exchange theories have identified social structural factors and interaction processes that build cohesion through the everyday exchange of valued resources. However, the types of resources considered in previous research do not reflect the properties of many commonly exchanged resources, namely information, social support, and material goods. In this article, I identify two resource dimensions that underlie and affect exchange: (1) duplicability, that is, whether a resource's provider retains control of the resource after exchange and (2) transferability, that is, whether a resource's recipient can exchange the resource in another relation. I present a causal model to explain how these dimensions affect cohesion through the mediating effects of structural power, exchange frequency, and uncertainty. Notably, resource variation alters the source of structural power, making it necessary to specify when different power mechanisms will operate and their disparate effects on the other mediating factors. A laboratory experiment provides support for the causal model. Resource characteristics fundamentally shape both the exchange process and the outcomes actors experience.

The Sources and Consequences of National Identification
Kunovich, Robert M.
This article examines national identification from a comparative and multilevel perspective. Building on the identity, nationalism, and prejudice literatures, I analyze relationships between societies' economic, political, and cultural characteristics (e.g., development, globalization, democratic governance, militarism, and religious and linguistic diversity), individual characteristics (e.g., socioeconomic status and minority status), and preferences for the content of national identities. I also examine relationships between national identity content and public policy preferences toward immigration, citizenship, assimilation, and foreign policy, generally. I use confirmatory factor analysis and multilevel modeling to analyze country-level data and survey data from 31 countries (from the International Social Survey Program's 2003 National Identity II Module). Results suggest that individual and country characteristics help account for the variable and contested nature of national identification. Moreover, the content of national identity categories has implications for public policy and intergroup relations.

What Do These Memories Do? Civil Rights Remembrance and Racial Attitudes
Griffin, Larry J.; Bollen, Kenneth A.
Scholarly inquiry into collective memory has fostered a host of innovative questions, perspectives, and interpretations about how individuals and communities are both constituted by the past and mobilize it for present-day projects. Race is one of the more important current issues demonstrating how the presence of the past is both potent and sorrowful in the United States. It is therefore critical to examine how memories of racial oppression, conflict, and reconstruction shape race relations. Studies of race relations, however, generally ignore collective memory's role in shaping racial norms and attitudes. This article uses the 1993 General Social Survey to address the silences in the collective memory and race relations literatures by examining how Americans' recollections of the civil rights movement influence their racial attitudes and racial policy preferences. Although we find that Americans' opinions about government programs targeting African Americans are unrelated to civil rights memory, respondents who spontaneously recalled the civil rights struggle and its victories as an especially important historical event generally expressed more racially liberal opinions than did those with different memories. Our findings both support the basic presupposition of collective memory studies—memory matters—and point to a fruitful innovation in the study of racial attitudes.

Radicalism or Reformism? Socialist Parties before World War I
Marks, Gary; Mbaye, Heather A.D.; Kim, Hyung Min
This article builds on social movement theory to explain ideological variation among socialist, social democratic, and labor parties across 18 countries in the early twentieth century. We propose a causal argument connecting (1) the political emergence of the bourgeoisie and its middle-class allies to (2) the political space for labor unions and working-class parties, which (3) provided a setting for internal pressures and external opportunities that shaped socialist party ideology. Combining quantitative analysis and case studies, we find that the timing of civil liberties and the strength of socialist links with labor unions were decisive for reformism or radicalism. Refining Lipset's prior analysis, we qualify his claim that male suffrage provides a key to socialist orientation.

All the Movements Fit to Print: Who, What, When, Where, and Why SMO Families Appeared in the New York Times in the Twentieth Century
Amenta, Edwin; Caren, Neal; Olasky, Sheera Joy; Stobaugh, James E.
Why did some social movement organization (SMO) families receive extensive media coverage? In this article, we elaborate and appraise four core arguments in the literature on movements and their consequences: disruption, resource mobilization, political partisanship, and whether a movement benefits from an enforced policy. Our fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analyses (fsQCA) draw on new, unique data from the New York Times across the twentieth century on more than 1,200 SMOs and 34 SMO families. At the SMO family level, coverage correlates highly with common measures of the size and disruptive activity of movements, with the labor and African American civil rights movements receiving the most coverage. Addressing why some movement families experienced daily coverage, fsQCA indicates that disruption, resource mobilization, and an enforced policy are jointly sufficient; partisanship, the standard form of "political opportunity," is not part of the solution. Our results support the main perspectives, while also suggesting that movement scholars may need to reexamine their ideas of favorable political contexts.

The 2004 GSS Finding of Shrunken Social Networks: An Artifact?
Fischer, Claude S.
McPherson, Smith-Lovin, and Brashears (2006, 2008b) reported that Americans' social networks shrank precipitously from 1985 to 2004. When asked to list the people with whom they discussed "important matters," respondents to the 2004 General Social Survey (GSS) provided about one-third fewer names than did respondents in the 1985 survey. Critically, the percentage of respondents who provided no names at all increased from about 10 percent in 1985 to about 25 percent in 2004. The 2004 results contradict other relevant data, however, and they contain serious anomalies; this suggests that the apparently dramatic increase in social isolation is an artifact. One possible source of the artifact is the section of the 2004 interview preceding the network question; it may have been unusually taxing. Another possible source is a random technical error. With as yet no clear account for these inconsistencies and anomalies, scholars should be cautious in using the 2004 network data. Scholars and general readers alike should draw no inference from the 2004 GSS as to whether Americans' social networks changed substantially between 1985 and 2004; they probably did not.

Models and Marginals: Using Survey Evidence to Study Social Networks
McPherson, Miller; Smith-Lovin, Lynn; Brashears, Matthew E.
Fischer (2009) argues that our estimates of confidant network size in the 2004 General Social Survey (GSS), and therefore the trend in confidant network size from 1985 to 2004, are implausible because they are (1) inconsistent with other data and (2) contain internal anomalies that call the data into question. In this note, we assess the evidence for a decrease in confidant network size from 1985 to 2004 in the GSS data. We conclude that any plausible modeling of the data shows a decided trend downward in confidant network size from 1985 to 2004. The features that Fischer calls anomalies are exactly the characteristics described by our models (Table 5) in the original article.

American Sociological Review, August 2009: Volume 74, Issue 4

Sociological Methodology 39(1)

Dna Collection In A Randomized Social Science Study Of College Peer Effects
Guang Guo, Jessica Halliday Hardie, Craig Owen, Jonathan K. Daw, Yilan Fu, Hedwig Lee, Amy Lucas, Emily Mckendry-Smith, Greg Duncan

Estimating Net Interracial Mobility In The United States: A Residual Methods Approach
Anthony Daniel Perez, Charles Hirschman

An Empirical Test Of Respondent-Driven Sampling: Point Estimates, Variance, Degree Measures, And Out-Of-Equilibrium Data
Cyprian Wejnert

Paths And Semipaths: Reconceptualizing Structural Cohesion In Terms Of Directed Relations
Rick Grannis

Exploiting Spatial Dependence To Improve Measurement Of Neighborhood Social Processes
Natalya Verbitsky Savitz, Stephen W. Raudenbush

Effects Of Exposure On Prevalence And Cumulative Relative Risk: Direct And Indirect Effects In A Recursive Hazard Model
Lawrence L. Wu, Steven P. Martin

Multivariate Decomposition For Hazard Rate Models
Daniel A. Powers, Myeong-Su Yun

How To Impute Interactions, Squares, And Other Transformed Variables
Paul T. Von Hippel

Variance Function Regressions For Studying Inequality
Bruce Western, Deirdre Bloome

Using Instrumental Variable Tests To Evaluate Model Specification In Latent Variable Structural Equation Models
James B. Kirby, Kenneth A. Bollen

Sociological Methodology, August 2009: Volume 39, Issue 1