Sunday, February 15, 2015

Journal of Criminal Justice 43(1)

Journal of Criminal Justice, January 2015: Volume 43, Issue 1

Editorial: Sex offenders: No solicitude required  
Matt DeLisi

Perceptions of Police Practice, Cynicism of Police Performance, and Persistent Neighborhood Violence: An Intersecting Relationship
Nicholas Corsaro, James Frank, Murat Ozer
Purpose: A growing literature indicates that legal cynicism at the neighborhood level corresponds with retaliatory homicides and persistent homicide rates, net of controls. However, no study to date has examined: a) how cynicism of police performance might be influenced by specific experiences with and perceptions of the police, and b) whether neighborhood cynicism of police performance is associated with violent crime beyond homicides. Method: This study analyzed citizen and neighborhood data from Cincinnati, Ohio in the late 1990s - a social setting that had antagonistic police-community relationships.Results: The results revealed that perceived unjust policing was the strongest individual level correlate of cynicism of police services, and that aggregate levels of cynicism predicted both homicides and overall violence above and beyond social disorganization as well as previous levels of violence. Conclusion: We speak to the importance of these findings in terms of identifying which police-community factors seemingly have the greatest likelihood to facilitate the association between cynicism and persistent neighborhood violence.

Does substance misuse moderate the relationship between criminal thinking and recidivism?
Michael S. Caudy, Johanna B. Folk, Jeffrey B. Stuewig, Alese Wooditch, Andres Martinez, Stephanie Maass, June P. Tangney, Faye S. Taxman
Purpose: Some differential intervention frameworks contend that substance use is less robustly related to recidivism outcomes than other criminogenic needs such as criminal thinking. The current study tested the hypothesis that substance use disorder severity moderates the relationship between criminal thinking and recidivism. Methods: The study utilized two independent criminal justice samples. Study 1 included 226 drug-involved probationers. Study 2 included 337 jail inmates with varying levels of substance use disorder severity. Logistic regression was employed to test the main and interactive effects of criminal thinking and substance use on multiple dichotomous indicators of recidivism. Results: Bivariate analyses revealed a significant correlation between criminal thinking and recidivism in the jail sample (r = .18, p < .05) but no significant relationship in the probation sample. Logistic regressions revealed that SUD symptoms moderated the relationship between criminal thinking and recidivism in the jail-based sample (B = -.58, p < .05). A significant moderation effect was not observed in the probation sample. Conclusions: Study findings indicate that substance use disorder symptoms moderate the strength of the association between criminal thinking and recidivism. These findings demonstrate the need for further research into the interaction between various dynamic risk factors.

Local gangs and residents’ perceptions of unsupervised teen groups: Implications for the incivilities thesis and neighborhood effects
Brandy L. Blasko, Caterina Gouvis Roman, Ralph B. Taylor
Purpose: The current work responds to calls for more conceptual clarity in disorder and incivility models, and for closer ties between gang and neighborhood effects research. Focusing on the perceived incivility that is pivotal to the dynamics of several theories in community criminology—unsupervised teen groups—and adopting Messick’s (1995) unified perspective on construct validation, the current work examines ecological and psychological impacts of street gang set spaces on these perceptions. Methods: Survey responses of over 900 residents in 55 census block groups in the northeast quadrant of the District of Columbia were combined with census data and expert assessments of gang set spaces. Results: Residents living in closer proximity to gang set spaces, within and beyond their neighborhood, reported more problems with unsupervised teen groups. This held true even after controlling for social integration. Conclusions: Results support Hunter’s (1978) distinction between general social disorder and specific correlated manifestations thereof, like incivilities, and Thrasher’s (1926) view of gangs as consequences of social disorder, furthering our understanding of this key social incivility.

The determination of victim credibility by adult and juvenile sexual assault investigators
Bradley A. Campbell, Tasha A. Menaker, William R. King
Purpose: Literature on sexual assault case outcomes has demonstrated that victim credibility is a critical component in criminal justice outcomes. Much of this literature has focused on prosecutors’ evaluations of victim credibility and the role of credibility in decisions to charge. Comparatively less research has examined the specific factors that impact police investigators’ evaluation of victim credibility. This study examines how sexual assault investigators determine victim credibility. Methods: This study analyzes interview data collected from 44 sexual assault investigators to understand how investigators evaluate victim credibility, and victim credibility’s role in decisions to arrest and present cases to prosecutors. Results: Findings indicate that extralegal characteristics including victim behavior at the time of victimization and victim moral character were important factors when evaluating victim credibility. In the absence of corroborating evidence, victim credibility was considered the most critical factor in decisions to arrest and present cases to prosecutors. Finally, important distinctions were revealed between juvenile and adult investigators regarding the evaluation of credibility. Conclusions: Police investigators’ decisions are guided by their perceptions of the characteristics necessary for prosecutors to accept charges in sexual assault investigations. Among these characteristics, victim credibility appeared to be the most important.

The Impact of Gun Ownership Rates on Crime Rates: A Methodological Review of the Evidence   Review Article
Gary Kleck
Purpose: This paper reviews 41 English-language studies that tested the hypothesis that higher gun prevalence levels cause higher crime rates, especially higher homicide rates. Methods: Each study was assessed as to whether it solved or reduced each of three critical methodological problems: (1) whether a validated measure of gun prevalence was used, (2) whether the authors controlled for more than a handful of possible confounding variables, and (3) whether the researchers used suitable causal order procedures to deal with the possibility of crime rates affecting gun rates, instead of the reverse. Results: It was found that most studies did not solve any of these problems, and that research that did a better job of addressing these problems was less likely to support the more-guns-cause-more crime hypothesis. Indeed, none of the studies that solved all three problems supported the hypothesis. Conclusions: Technically weak research mostly supports the hypothesis, while strong research does not. It must be tentatively concluded that higher gun ownership rates do not cause higher crime rates, including homicide rates.

The impact of low birth weight and maternal age on adulthood offending
Jamie C. Vaske, Jamie Newsome, Danielle L. Boisvert, Alex R. Piquero, Angela D. Paradis, Stephen L. Buka
Purpose: The current study examines the relationship between low birth weight and adult offending, and whether maternal age at childbirth moderates this relationship. Methods: Using longitudinal data from mothers and offspring from the Providence sample of the Collaborative Perinatal Project, multivariate logistic regression models were used to study the relationship between low birth weight and adulthood arrest by maternal age. Results: Offspring born at low birth weight were at an increased risk of adult arrest, but only if they were born to adolescent (and not adult) mothers. These results remained while controlling for preterm delivery, number of cigarettes smoked during pregnancy, mothers’ marital status, socioeconomic status, African American race, gender, and court contact during adolescence. Conclusions: Results highlight the importance of considering the moderating role of maternal age at childbirth, and underscore the notion that the adverse effect of a child born at low birth weight—with respect to crime—can be exacerbated if the child is born to a young mother but lessened or even ameliorated if born to an older mother. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

Hirschi’s Reconceptualization of Self-Control: Is Truth Truly the Daughter of Time? Evidence from Eleven Cultures
Alexander T. Vazsonyi, Li Huang
Purpose: The conceptualization and measurement of self-control remains a debated topic, in criminology as well as other social and behavioral sciences. The current study compared the relationships between the Grasmick and colleagues (1993) self-control scale and the redefined self-control measure by Hirschi (2004) on measures of deviance in samples of adolescents. Methods: Anonymous, self-report data were collected from over N = 16,000 middle and late adolescents in China, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Japan, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, and the United States. Results: Based on latent constructs with items parcels in an SEM framework, multi-group tests were used to examine both the relative predictive utility of each self-control measure on deviance and the extent to which these relationships varied across cultures. Both scales appear to tap into self-control; however, findings provide evidence that the Grasmick et al. measure explains more variance. These links did not vary across cultural contexts. Conclusions: Hirschi provocatively suggested that the truth is the daughter of time; yet, we find that the measure developed by Grasmick and colleagues, the most widely used scale, retains greater explanatory power, and does so in an invariant manner across all eleven developmental contexts examined.

It's Official: Predictors of Self-Reported vs. Officially Recorded Arrests
Wendi Pollock, Scott Menard, Delbert S. Elliott, David H. Huizinga
Purpose: The study of the distribution and correlates of arrest is widely recognized as an important topic, for the purposes of contributing to changes in police policy and training, which in turn increase the fairness of U.S. policing. Despite agreement that this area of research is an important one, there remains variation in the way arrest is measured. The current study compares two common measurements of arrest, official records and self-reports, for National Youth Survey Family Study (NYSFS) respondents across four time periods. Methods: The sample was divided by those who reported severe offending and those who did not. Crosstabs, correlation coefficients and logistic regression models were run, to examine the extent to which self-reported and officially recorded arrests are related, and whether there are commonalities in the predictors of self-reported and officially recorded arrests. Results: While the agreement between the two measurements of arrest is over 80%, the majority of that agreement is comprised of respondents who were not arrested. Conclusions: Overall, there were more instances of a self-reported arrest but no official arrest, than the reverse. There does not appear to be a pattern in frequencies or correlation coefficients based on the severity of reported offending.

Perceptions of and support for sex offender policies: Testing Levenson, Brannon, Fortney, and Baker’s findings
Sarah Koon-Magnin
Purpose: In one of the most impactful studies of perceptions of sex offender legislation, respondents claimed that they would support the laws, “even if there is no scientific evidence showing that they reduce sexual abuse” (Levenson, Brannon, Fortney, & Baker, 2007). The present research experimentally tested that assertion across two samples of Alabama residents. Methods: In both samples, an experimental group was informed that, “There is no conclusive scientific evidence showing that sex offender registries or notification laws reduce sexual abuse.” All respondents were then asked about community notification statutes. Results: Support was high among all respondents (regardless of the experimental prompt) and did not differ significantly based on demographic characteristics. Males were more likely than females to perceive some policies as effective. Parents reported that they would feel significantly more fear and anger if a sex offender moved into their neighborhood than did non-parents. Conclusions: These findings suggest that: 1.) despite their limited instrumental impact, sex offender laws hold symbolic value to the public, 2.) more research is needed to further understand demographic differences in perceptions of sex offender policies, and 3.) perhaps public education must precede an effective attempt at implementing evidence-based sex offender legislation.

Crime & Delinquency 61(2)

Crime & Delinquency, March 2015: Volume 61, Issue 2

How do Former Inmates Perform in the Community? A Survival Analysis of Rearrests, Reconvictions, and Technical Parole Violations
Michael Ostermann
This study provides insight into the postrelease performance of all former inmates with available data who were released from a prison in New Jersey in 2006 (N = 12,187). Three indicators of recidivism are considered: (a) an arrest for a new crime, (b) a conviction for a new crime, and (c) a technical parole violation. Individuals are categorized into groups according to the release mechanism that they experienced: discretionary parole, mandatory parole, or unconditional release. Multivariate analyses utilize Cox proportional hazards survival tests. Results indicate that after approximately 3 years of follow-up time, those released to supervision were generally less involved in new crimes when compared with those who were released unconditionally. However, a high proportion of those who were paroled recidivated shortly after release, and the predicted probability that a former inmate would recidivate did not substantially differ between release groups in the presence of statistical controls.

Participation in the Community Social Control, the Neighborhood Watch Groups: Individual- and Neighborhood-Related Factors
Ji Hyon Kang
Studies confirm differences between participants and nonparticipants in voluntary organizations in general as well as those for crime prevention. Participants are more stable, longer residents, and attached residents with better socioeconomic status. Yet, previous studies have not thoroughly considered neighborhood conditions. A few studies show the overall participation-rate differences across neighborhoods without considering whether individuals residing in neighborhoods with different conditions show dissimilar patterns of participation. In addition, studies rarely consider the crime-related problems of communities. This study examines the differences between participants and nonparticipants in neighborhood crime-prevention associations with particular attention paid to the neighborhood-related factors, including crime problems. In addition, whether individual-related characteristics show the same or similar impact on participation when the community social context is in consideration is another question to be answered. It is revealed that individual- and neighborhood-related factors differentiate the residents’ participation. In particular, crime problems of the neighborhood affect participation in crime-prevention associations.

Officer Race Versus Macro-Level Context: A Test of Competing Hypotheses About Black Citizens’ Experiences With and Perceptions of Black Police Officers
Rod K. Brunson and Jacinta M. Gau
It has been proposed that hiring more Black police officers is an effective way to alleviate long-standing tensions between police and African Americans because Black officers will connect with Black citizens and treat them well. This hypothesis, however, fails to account for the macro-level context of the troubled locations in which African Americans disproportionately reside and wherein police–minority citizen problems are deep seated. The present study examines two competing hypotheses concerning the influence ofofficer race relative to that of ecological context in shaping African Americans’ experiences with and perceptions of local police. These hypotheses are testedusing in-depth interview data with Black residents of a majority-Black, high-crime, economically troubled city. Implications for policy and future research are discussed.

Inside the Black Box: Identifying the Variables That Mediate the Effects of an Experimental Intervention for Adolescents
Carter Hay, Xia Wang, Emily Ciaravolo, and Ryan C. Meldrum
In recent decades, researchers have identified many programs that successfully reduce juvenile delinquency. Evaluations of these programs generally do not, however, assess the mediating variables that intervene between program participation and reduced delinquency. Thus, although much insight has been gained on which programs are effective, the question of why they are effective is often neglected. This study addresses this issue by considering the risk factors that mediate the effects of a comprehensive intervention on juvenile offending. This was considered with data from the Children at Risk program, a 2-year multimodal intervention with random assignment that has been shown to reduce delinquency among high-risk early adolescents.

Reconceptualizing Victimization and Victimization Responses
Heather Zaykowski
Research consistently demonstrates that severity, often measured by victim injury, is the most influential factor to predict reporting crimes to the police. However, less is known with regard to how the victim’s perception of the incident or their involvement in offending behavior inhibits this decision. The current study examines how traditional indicators (i.e., victim, offender and incident characteristics), the victim’s offending behavior, and perceptual measures influence police awareness of criminal victimization. Results suggest that victim injury and offending status does not significantly predict police awareness when subjective measures are controlled. However, multiple offenders, community crime, and parental knowledge significantly increased the odds that the police were aware that the victimization occurred.

The Triangulation Effects of Family Structure and Attachment on Adolescent Substance Use
Tiffiney Barfield-Cottledge
Travis Hirshi’s control theory hypothesizes that weak attachment to social control mechanisms increase the likelihood of crime and delinquency commission. The current study examined the effect of family structure and attachment on adolescent substance use, specifically hard liquor and drug use. Youth respondents between the ages of 15 and 18 years from the National Survey of Youth were included in the analyses (N = 1,036). The sample on which analyses were conducted comprised female (n = 498) and male (n = 538) respondents. For both male and female respondents, findings revealed that the family attachment variable emerged as a more significant predictor of adolescent alcohol and marijuana use (p < .05) when compared with the family structure variable.

Critical Criminology 23(1)

Critical Criminology, March 2015: Volume 23 Number 1

Lost in Translation: Looking for Transgender Identity in Women’s Prisons and Locating Aggressors in Prisoner Culture
Jennifer Sumner and Lori Sexton
The incarceration of transgender prisoners in men’s prisons is a burgeoning topic of legal challenge, policy development, and social science inquiry. The conspicuous absence of comparable attention to women’s facilities may facilitate a tacit assumption that what is known about transgender prisoners in men’s prisons translates seamlessly to women’s facilities. This paper interrogates this assumption by examining current understandings of what it means to be transgender in a women’s prison. Findings from focus groups with prisoners and staff reveal that gender is understood as both reflected by and constituted through social interaction. Specifically, in attempting to explain the concept of “transgender” in women’s prisons, this work instead reveals a different prevailing concept in prisoner culture: “aggressor.” Unlike transgender, aggressor does not denote gender identity; rather, it implies presentation and performance as reflective of gendered ways of navigating relationships within the context of a sex-segregated setting. These findings simultaneously affirm the extant literature on gender and sexuality in women’s prisons and complicate the translation of the identity-based concept “transgender” from men’s prisons to a women’s prison.

Wrongfully Convicting the Innocent: A State Crime?
Greg Stratton
Although there is evidence of its occurrence in most criminal justice systems, wrongful conviction remains underdeveloped from a criminological perspective. The result of a confluence of factors and actors, wrongful conviction stands as evidence that criminal justice systems are not immune to error. Amongst the different circumstances in individual cases, the state (or those acting on its behalf) is one constant actor implicated in wrongful conviction of the innocent. Recognizing this consistency, wrongful conviction has the potential to be examined through existing understandings of state crime and enter more robust discussions within critical and orthodox criminology. By expanding upon existing arguments relevant to state crime, this article suggests a typology of wrongful conviction by placing it on a continuum of state crime from acts of omission to commission. In doing so, this article further develops a theoretical argument demonstrating the relevance of wrongful conviction within the state crime ‘spectrum’, adding to the understanding of the problem of wrongful conviction.

Critical Criminology in the Life and Work of Eugene Victor Debs
Kenneth D. Tunnell and Edward L. W. Green
The American socialist, Eugene Debs, made a profound impact on American politics during the first half of the twentieth century. Although socialism and the public’s knowledge of Debs have waned since then, we argue, in this paper, that Debs, his writings and his life’s work are relevant to criminology—particularly critical criminology—yet neglected during the formative development of critical criminology. In this paper, we describe Debs’ biography and politics. We document his first-hand experiences with the legal system (including incarceration), his consistent critiques of capitalism and his written and spoken texts that empirically link American-style capitalism and its captains to US politics. Last, we describe Debs’ only published book on prisons and prison life and its unfortunate omission from the criminological canon yet argue that Debs’ life and written and spoken word remain central to social justice.

De-Demonizing the ‘Monstrous’ Drug Addict: A Qualitative Look at Social Reintegration Through Rehabilitation and Employment
Brandon Lutman, Caitlin Lynch and Elizabeth Monk-Turner
Few studies explore how employers perceive the experience of hiring recovering substance abusers. Qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted with employers who hire clients from a residential drug treatment facility for adult males in a capital city in the southeastern United States as well as several administrators that work at this facility. The emergent themes uncovered through these interviews shed light on the opinions of those who refuse to abandon a population of individuals who have been neglected by so many others. The research participant insights shed light on the fact that when overcoming drug addiction and abuse, getting sober is only half the battle. These individuals are then left to fight against the labels and stigmatization cast upon them by society. Information gleaned from these interviews may offer employers who may consider hiring ex-offenders, insights into potential benefits and problems they may encounter in working with this population. The findings of this study emphasize the damning effects of labeling on the social reintegration of those desperate for a second chance at being productive members of society.

Breaking Out of Prison and into Print? Rationales and Strategies to Assist Educated Convicts Conduct Scholarly Research and Writing Behind Bars
Jeffrey Ian Ross, Miguel Zaldivar and Richard Tewksbury
Some educated convicts want to conduct scholarly research and have the results of their work appear in academic publications. This provides numerous benefits and challenges to the researcher/writer and the academic world. This article outlines these issues in order to assist convicts, scholars, journal editors, and correctional service personnel understand the opportunities and limitations to scholarly research by convicts behind bars. The authors argue that the best strategy to use for inmates in this situation is a team research approach. The discussion provides definitions and examples of the challenges, opportunities, and means of overcoming these obstacles.

Seeing Like an Orientalist State: The Three Deaths of Neda Agha-Soltan
Justin Turner
On June 20, 2009 one image became a symbol of violence, as well as a rallying cry for a movement that contested the disputed election of hardline Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The image captured the murder of a 26 year old protester named Neda Agha-Soltan, and showed a first-hand account, in bloody detail, of the savagery of state killing. With the help of social media, the video received mass attention from news organizations in the United States by June 22, 2009. Cursory analysis of the New York Times and The Washington Post, representation of Neda’s death, reveals an Iranian government that was unafraid to violently repress a democratic movement. It is my contention here that such a construction was framed by an Orientalist discourse which helped to fabricate three distinct deaths of this murdered protester. First the lasting images of death became a symbol of freedom; Neda’s second death showed a grievable life, one that provided an emotional space for a US audience; and finally her third death which became a means of defining and (re)stabilizing Orientalized perceptions of Iran as violent and barbaric. Ultimately, these three deaths became an instrument that would help justify the call for US intervention on behalf of Western morality and humanitarian aid.

Reverberate, Resonate, Reproduce: A Reconsideration of Ideological Influence in Crime News Production
Nick Chagnon
For decades, scholars have increasingly been concerned with media representations of crime. Content analyses have chronicled pervasive distortions in media representations of crime. Many have argued these issues are particularly troubling in the news, as it supposedly provides an invaluable democratic service, spurring many theories of crime news production. Classic works often conceptualized crime news as either a product of dominant ideologies and top–down power, or journalistic routines and values, coupled with reflexive agency by journalists. More recently scholars have argued for hybrid perspectives. However, such hybridized approaches often brusquely treat the role of ideology in crime news. This article rethinks the role of ideology in crime news production, particularly the ways in which various ideologies interact and mutually strengthen each other.

Ambivalent Sovereigns and Restorative Justice: Exploring Conditions of Possibility and Impossibility for Restorative Justice in a Post-communicative Age
Ronnie Lippens
This contribution hopes to be able to contribute to answering the question: whither restorative justice? The restorative justice (RJ) movement has arrived at an existential crossroads. In this contribution an attempt is made to analyse how some of the origins of the RJ movement could be located in the emergence and crystallization of a new form of life (“control society”) in the wake of the Second World War. At the heart of this form of life one might be able to discern, on the one hand, a desire for and will to radical sovereignty, and, on the other, a resulting awareness of ambivalence. Whilst these aspects of post-war life have formed the backdrop of developments in RJ, and have therefore formed part of its conditions of possibility, one might now wonder if, in a post-communicative age such as ours, those very aspects have now become part of its conditions of impossibility. The argument explored in this contribution however holds that elements in the aforementioned form of life also hold potential for the re-thinking of restorative justice theory and practice.

The ANNALS of the AAPSS 658

The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, March 2015: Volume 658

The Politics of Science: Political Values and the Production, Communication, and Reception of Scientific Knowledge

Section I: Political Values and Public Beliefs About Science

Does Partisanship Shape Attitudes toward Science and Public Policy? The Case for Ideology and Religion
Joshua M. Blank and Daron Shaw

The Partisan Brain: How Dissonant Science Messages Lead Conservatives and Liberals to (Dis)Trust Science
Erik C. Nisbet, Kathryn E. Cooper, and R. Kelly Garrett

Questionnaire Design Effects in Climate Change Surveys: Implications for the Partisan Divide
Jonathon P. Schuldt, Sungjong Roh, and Norbert Schwarz

Red States, Blue States, and Brain States: Issue Framing, Partisanship, and the Future of Neurolaw in the United States
Francis X. Shen and Dena M. Gromet

The Influence of Specific Risk Perceptions on Public Policy Support: An Examination of Energy Policy
James W. Stoutenborough, Arnold Vedlitz, and Xinsheng Liu

Why People “Don’t Trust the Evidence”: Motivated Reasoning and Scientific Beliefs
Patrick W. Kraft, Milton Lodge, and Charles S. Taber

Section II: Politics and Science Communication

Expertise in an Age of Polarization: Evaluating Scientists’ Political Awareness and Communication Behaviors
Matthew C. Nisbet and Ezra M. Markowitz

The Content and Effect of Politicized Health Controversies
Erika Franklin Fowler and Sarah E. Gollust

Selecting Our Own Science: How Communication Contexts and Individual Traits Shape Information Seeking
Sara K. Yeo, Michael A. Xenos, Dominique Brossard, and Dietram A. Scheufele

Geoengineering and Climate Change Polarization: Testing a Two-Channel Model of Science Communication
Dan M. Kahan, Hank Jenkins-Smith, Tor Tarantola, Carol L. Silva, and Donald Braman

The Need for Knowledge-Based Journalism in Politicized Science Debates
Matthew C. Nisbet and Declan Fahy

Section III: Values, Knowledge Elites, and the Public

Technology Optimism or Pessimism about Genomic Science: Variation among Experts and Scholarly Disciplines
Jennifer Hochschild and Maya Sen

Enablers of Doubt: How Future Teachers Learn to Negotiate the Evolution Wars in Their Classrooms
Michael B. Berkman and Eric Plutzer

Citizens’, Scientists’, and Policy Advisors’ Beliefs about Global Warming
Toby Bolsen, James N. Druckman, and Fay Lomax Cook

Politics and Science: Untangling Values, Ideologies, and Reasons
Heather Douglas

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Theoretical Criminology 19(1)

Theoretical Criminology, February 2015: Volume 19, Issue 1

Mary Bosworth and Simon Cole

The Dark Ghetto revisited: Kenneth B Clark’s classic analysis as cutting edge criminology
Elliott Currie, Tim Goddard, and Randolph R Myers
In this article we revisit one of the classic works of the 1960s on crime and delinquency in poor communities: Kenneth B Clark’s Dark Ghetto. Our exploration reveals its insights to be extremely relevant today both in understanding the roots of the self-destructive violence that tears at those communities and in thinking about how to combat the structural conditions and individual mentalities that generate it. Beyond the specific theoretical and methodological lessons that can be gleaned from Dark Ghetto, Clark’s work serves as a much-needed illustration of how theoretical insights derived from intensive qualitative research that is attuned to political, historical, and economic realities—and their human consequences—can enhance criminological theory, and align with progressive movements for social change.

Resistance or friction: Understanding the significance of prisoners’ secondary adjustments
Ashley T Rubin
Scholars examining prisoners’ “secondary adjustments” have often emphasized prisoners’ “resistance” to the prison regime, particularly their agentic acts that frustrate the prison’s rules, goals, or functions. While these agency-centered accounts offer an important corrective to the understanding of prisons as totalizing institutions, they may go too far. I argue that scholars have overused (and misused) the term “resistance” to describe certain prisoner behaviors, creating both analytical and normative consequences. Instead, I suggest the concept of “friction” more accurately describes the reactive behaviors that occur when people find themselves in highly controlled environments.

The police and punishment: Understanding the pains of policing
Diarmaid M Harkin
This article argues that police studies should draw on the sociology of punishment to better understand state pain-delivery. Whereas penal theorists commonly assess the pain and punishment of inmates in relation to wider social sentiments, police theory has yet to regard police violence and harm in the same fashion. As a result, police scholars often fail to address why the damage caused by public constabularies, even when widely publicized, is accommodated and accepted. Adapting the idea of ‘punitiveness’ from penal theory allows some explanation of how the public views injury and suffering caused by the police by illuminating the emotions and sentiments their actions generate.

Although the falling crime rates in the 1990s surprised criminologists, it was not the first time crime had declined. There was a ‘crime drop’ in England in the 1920s. When crime did not rise as expected following the Great War, the government closed half the prisons, and Edwin Sutherland came to investigate ‘England’s empty prisons’. To conduct his analysis, Sutherland relied on work by SK Ruck, and between them, they came up with most of the leading explanations now used by criminologists. They considered the police and prisons, the economy and household security. They also discussed the psychological conditions of low-crime societies, the ‘sense of security’. Drawing on their unpublished material from archives in New York and London, the discussion here examines what can be learned about contemporary analyses of the crime drop of the 1990s. Overall, this article argues for the importance of theory in analysing the statistics of falling crime and how historical studies of crime trends can be useful in developing this theory.

Resilience describes the capacity of an individual, community or ecosystem to mitigate the impact of a shock or disturbance and then to recover in its aftermath. In recent years, resilience has become the favoured solution for a range of contemporary policy problems including natural disasters, mental health issues and terrorism. However, the concept is understood far less in criminology and counter-terrorism than in other fields such as psychology and natural hazards studies. This article compares resilience-building measures in the Prepare and Prevent strands of CONTEST, the UK government’s national strategy for countering terrorism. Its aim is to explore the benefits and dangers of resilience according to how the concept is defined and applied across different contexts.

Securing the home: Gender, CCTV and the hybridized space of apartment buildings
Jordana Wright, Amanda Glasbeek, and Emily van der Meulen
This article explores gendered narratives of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in apartment buildings. Drawing on primary data from a study with a diversity of women in Toronto, Canada, the authors foreground women’s experiences with apartment living and situate it as a profoundly feminized domestic arrangement. Consideration of the workings of CCTV in apartment buildings troubles both security and surveillance studies, especially in the context of the dominant legal and ideological configuration of ‘the home’. The apartment is at once ‘the home’ and neighbourhood; it is simultaneously a private space that must be secured from external threats and a public space that inhabitants have little power to secure.

Digital drift and the criminal interaction order
Andrew Goldsmith and Russell Brewer
Despite growing interest in cybercrime, the Internet still poses significant challenges for criminological understanding. Its penetration of everyday life is relevant to many crime types, not just cybercrimes. This article examines the ways in which criminal commitments form using the Internet and related communication technologies that empower the individual relative to the group (gang, mafia, etc.). We argue this occurs in two ways. First, it allows individuals to limit involvement in particular associations or networks. The concept of digital drift is used to explore this element. Second, it allows them to commit crimes more autonomously through facilitating self-instruction. Drawing on Goffman, the importance of studying the encounter as the basic unit of a criminal interaction order is proposed.

The British Journal of Criminology 55(2)

The British Journal of Criminology, March 2015: Volume 55, Issue 2

Editor's choice: Enlisting the Public in the Policing of Immigration
Ana Aliverti
As border policing is no longer circumscribed to external borders and increasingly performed inland, in Britain migration work relies on the assistance of a range of unorthodox partners, including the public. The unearthing of the ‘community’ as a crucial partner to police a myriad of public safety issues, including migration, begs the question of what are the implications of mobilizing citizenship for law enforcement? This paper argues that enlisting the public in migration law enforcement yields important civic by-products: it ‘creates’ citizens and citizenship. It imparts civic training by instilling a sense of civic responsibility in law and order maintenance, and in doing so it intends to recreate social cohesion across a deeply fragmented society.

Foucault’s Punitive Society: Visual Tactics of Marking as a History of the Present
Phil Carney
Applying a form of genealogical method rooted in Nietzsche’s use of history, this article seeks an understanding of ‘marking’ punishments in our own mass-mediated culture. First, Foucault’s analysis of the punitive tactic of marking in his 1973 course, The Punitive Society, will be considered. Second, his concept of ‘virtual marking’ will be extended and applied to the case of the pitture infamanti in the early renaissance. Third, I will use these insights in a genealogical spirit in order to examine the rise of virtual marking in modernity. We will discover that Foucault was mistaken to tether marking punishments so closely to sovereign power. Instead, with certain antecedents in ancient Rome, virtual marking emerged in a largely ‘bourgeois’ society during the early renaissance and re-emerges in our own society of mass, photographic spectacle.

An Examination of the Local Life Circumstances of Female Offenders: Mothering, Illegal Earnings and Drug Use
Carolyn Yule, Paul-Philippe Paré, and Rosemary Gartner
Most women convicted of crime are mothers, yet we know little about whether the daily activity of mothering affects women’s criminal behaviour. If mothering reduces opportunities to engage in crime, strengthens informal controls and increases the costs of crime, it should discourage offending. On the other hand, if children create an imperative for resources that women cannot accommodate legally or exacerbate psychological and emotional strains, women may resort to criminal behaviour. Using data from interviews with 259 incarcerated women in Ontario, Canada, we estimate multi-level models focussing on month-to-month changes in women’s responsibilities for children and their offending. We find that mothering is an important ‘local life circumstance’ for reducing women’s involvement in criminal activities.

Gender, Aging and Drug Use: A Post-structural Approach to the Life Course
Ingrid Lander
This article focuses on the ageing process among drug-using women, proceeded on the basis of a critical post-structural approach to the life course (Holstein and Gubrium 2000; Halberstam 2005; Ahmed 2006; Mattsson 2014). The objective is to provide an alternative perspective on the life course to that which dominates current criminology. This perspective challenges prevailing norms and conceptions regarding the other, and in doing so focuses the analysis on the social mechanisms that lie behind social exclusion, crime and drug use. By means of the retrospective narratives of 4 women, who describe a rambling journey along crooked paths on the margins of the welfare state, the article reveals the nature of prevailing norms and conceptions regarding ageing, gender and drug use.

Neutralization Without Drift: Criminal Commitment Among Persistent Offenders
Bruce A. Jacobs and Heith Copes
Prior research suggests that serious predatory offenders are sufficiently committed to illicit conduct that they must neutralize good behaviour, rather than bad behaviour. Drawing from a sample of offenders who commit carjacking, we question that assumption. Specifically, our data reveal the manner in which such offenders neutralize bad conduct without meaningfully drifting. The notion of ‘neutralization without drift’ represents a theoretical refinement of neutralization theory and an extension of core conceptualization in the interpretation of criminal commitment. Through this concept, we attempt to make sense of how persistent predatory offenders who commit carjacking are able to embrace aggression, explain that it’s not ‘really them’, neutralize bad rather than good conduct, yet retain their status as committed criminals.

Officers and Drug Counsellors: New Occupational Identities in Nordic Prisons
Torsten Kolind, Vibeke A. Frank, Odd Lindberg, and Jouni Tourunen
Increasingly, prison drug treatment is introduced in European prisons. This increase may begin to change the prison as officers and drug counsellors are given new occupational responsibilities. Based on six month of observational studies and qualitative interviews with 104 prison employees in Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway in 12 prisons, this article investigates the practices and values of drug counsellors and officers. This shows that increasingly, counsellors integrate the control and disciplinary sanctions of the prison environment into their treatment approach. Simultaneously, officers working in drug treatment wings highlight the importance of the treatment ethos in their control work, adjusting the social representations of their professional identities accordingly. We discuss whether the concepts of treatment and control should be rethought.

Expanding the Community: An Exploratory Analysis of an American Parole Office’s Location and Its Impact on Parolees
Rita Shah
Numerous scholars study the effect of former prisoners’ neighbourhood on reintegration; few discuss how the geographic aspects of a community can impact the relationships within that community. This lack of discussion is particularly interesting for understanding the American parole system, as there seems to be no discussion of how the neighbourhood context of a parole office’s location impacts the relationships within. In this article, I argue the look, feel and location of a parole office may affect the parolee/parole agent relationship, which may in turn affect parole’s role in the reintegration process, and that we need to continue expanding criminological understandings of community and geography beyond where one lives and of how geographic and relational communities are connected.

Transforming ‘Summary Justice’ Through Police-led Prosecution and ‘Virtual Courts’: Is ‘Procedural Due Process’ Being Undermined?
Jenni Ward
The administration of ‘summary’ justice in the lower criminal courts in England and Wales is undergoing significant transformation. Broadly, this sits within the desire to create a modernized and more streamlined system. But, criminal justice scholars state ‘swift justice’ is not necessarily fair justice, and ‘procedural due process’ might be challenged by objectives of economics and speed. This paper centres on two areas of change—the expanded role of the police in prosecutorial decision making and the introduction of ‘virtual courts’ where accused defendants appear via video link from police stations to the criminal courts. It is argued these two alterations call into question fundamental principles of procedural due process.

‘Such Misconducts Don’t Make a Good Ranger’: Examining Law Enforcement Ranger Wrongdoing in Uganda
William D. Moreto, Rod K. Brunson, and Anthony A. Braga
Wildlife crime has been recognized to be an important topic of study by criminologists in recent years. Prior research has highlighted the detrimental impact of corruption on conservation-related issues. Law enforcement rangers are often the primary protectors of protected areas and wildlife. Yet, like other law enforcement agents, they are not immune to misconduct and corruption. The present study offers an in-depth examination of rangers’ experiences with and perceptions of wrongdoing in a specific Ugandan protected area. Findings indicate that ranger wrongdoing is driven by a myriad of factors and manifests in various ways. These findings have implications for the understanding and prevention of ranger misconduct.

On the Correlates of Reporting Assault to the Police in Malawi
Aiden Sidebottom
It is well known that many victims of crime do not notify the police. Research suggests that factors related to the victim, crime event and wider community are all implicated in the decision to report victimization. Few studies have investigated the correlates of victim reporting in developing countries, mainly owing to a lack of relevant data. It is therefore unclear whether the determinants of victim reporting in Western industrialized countries are generalizable to low-income developing settings. This paper explores the factors associated with victims reporting assault to the police in the African context of Malawi, using data from a nationally representative household survey. Results of a multilevel logistic regression indicate some similarities with the Western criminological literature, such as age of the victim and crime seriousness positively correlating with crime reporting. Other results seem to reflect the distinctive characteristics of Malawi, with victims more likely to report being assaulted if they are male, have access to a working phone or live in urban areas. The results illustrate the importance of studying criminological phenomena across a diverse range of settings. Implications of the findings for future research and crime prevention are discussed.

What Makes Long Crime Trips Worth Undertaking? Balancing Costs and Benefits in Burglars’ Journey to Crime
Christophe Vandeviver, Stijn Van Daele, and Tom Vander Beken
This study taps into rational choice theory and scrutinizes the assumption that profit maximization and effort minimization govern decisions related to burglary behaviour and the journey to crime. It treats distance as one of the major costs in the burglary target selection process and uses community characteristics to gain insight into how the anticipation of particular benefits favours the incremental costs of long crime trips. Two thousand three hundred and eighty-seven burglary trips were extracted from police records and analyzed using negative binomial regression analysis. The journey-to-crime distance was found to increase when burglaries were committed in communities containing motorways, dense road networks, and being ethnically heterogeneous. The journey-to-crime distance was found to decrease when densely populated areas and communities with high clearance rates are targeted.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

American Sociological Review 80(1)

American Sociological Review, February 2015: Volume 80, Issue 1

2014 Presidential Address: Cultural Knowledge and Social Inequality
Annette Lareau
Using both qualitative longitudinal data collected 20 years after the original Unequal Childhoods study and interview data from a study of upwardly mobile adults, this address demonstrates how cultural knowledge matters when white and African American young adults of differing class backgrounds navigate key institutions. I find that middle-class young adults had more knowledge than their working-class or poor counterparts of the “rules of the game” regarding how institutions worked. They also displayed more of a sense of entitlement to ask for help. When faced with a problem related to an institution, middle-class young adults frequently succeeded in getting their needs accommodated by the institution; working-class and poor young adults were less knowledgeable about and more frustrated by bureaucracies. This address also shows the crucial role of “cultural guides” who help upwardly mobile adults navigate institutions. While many studies of class reproduction have looked at key turning points, this address argues that “small moments” may be critical in setting the direction of life paths.

Category Taken-for-Grantedness as a Strategic Opportunity: The Case of Light Cigarettes, 1964 to 1993
Greta Hsu and Stine Grodal
Theories within organizational and economic sociology that center on market categories often equate taken-for-grantedness with increased constraint on category members’ features. In contrast, we develop a novel perspective that considers how market participants’ changing category-related attributions decrease the scrutiny of category offerings, opening up strategic opportunities for firms. We further argue that whether producers should be expected to take advantage of these opportunities depends on the extent to which they are incentivized to do so. We use the case of the light cigarette category to test this thesis. We argue and find evidence that increasing taken-for-grantedness of the light cigarette category created greater opportunity for tobacco firms to strategically manipulate category features.

Can Ratings Have Indirect Effects? Evidence from the Organizational Response to Peers’ Environmental Ratings
Amanda J. Sharkey and Patricia Bromley
Organizations are increasingly subject to rating and ranking by third-party evaluators. Research in this area tends to emphasize the direct effects of ratings systems that occur when ratings give key audiences, such as consumers or investors, more information about a rated firm. Yet, ratings systems may also indirectly influence organizations when the collective presence of more rated peers alters the broader institutional and competitive milieu. Rated firms may be more responsive to ratings systems when surrounded by more rated peers, and ratings may generate diffuse or spillover effects even among unrated firms. We test these arguments by analyzing how rated and unrated firms change their pollution behavior when more firms in their peer group are rated on environmental performance. Results indicate that the presence of more rated peers is often associated with emissions reductions. This relationship varies, however, by whether a firm was rated, whether the rating was positive or negative (if rated), and, often, features of the competitive and regulatory environment.

Traditional, Modern, and Post-Secular Perspectives on Science and Religion in the United States
Timothy L. O’Brien and Shiri Noy
Using General Social Survey data, we examine perspectives on science and religion in the United States. Latent class analysis reveals three groups based on knowledge and attitudes about science, religiosity, and preferences for certain religious interpretations of the world. The traditional perspective (43 percent) is marked by a preference for religion compared to science; the modern perspective (36 percent) holds the opposite view. A third perspective, which we call post-secular (21 percent), views both science and religion favorably. However, when faced with competing accounts of events such as creation and evolution, post-seculars root their views in religion rather than in mainstream science. Regression models indicate that perspectives on science and religion do not simply mirror other denominational or ideological differences. Furthermore, religio-scientific perspectives shape attitudes about political issues where scientific and some religious communities diverge, including on abortion rights and stem cell research. Overall, most individuals favor either scientific or religious ways of understanding, but many scientifically inclined individuals prefer certain religious accounts. This suggests that public divisions related to science and religion are cultural and epistemological. This article underscores the complexity of the boundary between reason and faith and highlights the roots of political conflict in perspectives on science and religion in the United States.

Can We Finish the Revolution? Gender, Work-Family Ideals, and Institutional Constraint
David S. Pedulla and Sarah Thébaud
Why has progress toward gender equality in the workplace and at home stalled in recent decades? A growing body of scholarship suggests that persistently gendered workplace norms and policies limit men’s and women’s ability to create gender egalitarian relationships at home. In this article, we build on and extend prior research by examining the extent to which institutional constraints, including workplace policies, affect young, unmarried men’s and women’s preferences for their future work-family arrangements. We also examine how these effects vary across education levels. Drawing on original survey-experimental data, we ask respondents how they would like to structure their future relationships while experimentally manipulating the degree of institutional constraint under which they state their preferences. Two clear patterns emerge. First, as constraints are removed and men and women can opt for an egalitarian relationship, the majority choose this option, regardless of gender or education level. Second, women’s relationship structure preferences are more responsive than men’s to the removal of institutional constraints through supportive work-family policy interventions. These findings shed light on important questions about the role of institutions in shaping work-family preferences, underscoring the notion that seemingly gender-traditional work-family decisions are largely contingent on the constraints of current workplaces.

The Price of Protection: A Trajectory Analysis of Civil Remedies for Abuse and Women’s Earnings
Melanie M. Hughes and Lisa D. Brush
We know men’s violence against women is costly. Yet, we know little about the costs—or benefits—of women’s efforts to end it. This study investigates the temporal dynamics of women’s earnings and petitioning for a Protection from Abuse (PFA) civil restraining order. Women’s earnings might rise or fall at the time of petitioning but quickly return to pre-petitioning levels, a short-term boost or shock; or, petitioning might precipitate a longer-term stall or upward shift in women’s earnings. To test for these effects, we use latent growth curve analysis and evaluate women’s earnings trajectories over six years. We find overwhelming evidence that the period around petitioning is one of exceptional earnings instability for petitioners, many of whom experience both shocks and stalls. Virtually no one experiences a boost in the quarter of petitioning or an upward shift in earnings growth in the year after petitioning for a PFA. Welfare, however, buffers negative effects of petitioning on women’s earnings growth. We also calculate lost earnings as the difference between women’s counterfactual projected and estimated earnings. Our findings inform theoretical and policy debates about interventions intended to address poverty and violence against women.

Capturing Culture: A New Method to Estimate Exogenous Cultural Effects Using Migrant Populations
Javier G. Polavieja
We know that culture influences people’s behavior. Yet estimating the exact extent of this influence poses a formidable methodological challenge for the social sciences. This is because preferences and beliefs are endogenous, that is, they are shaped by individuals’ own experiences and affected by the same macro-structural conditions that constrain their actions. This study introduces a new method to overcome endogeneity problems in the estimation of cultural effects by using migrant populations. This innovative method uses imputed traits, generated from non-migrating equivalents observed at the country of origin, as instruments for immigrants’ own cultural traits measured at the country of destination. By construction, imputed traits are exogenous to immigrants’ host social environment. The predicted power of imputed traits over observed traits in instrumental-variable estimation captures the non-idiosyncratic component of preferences and beliefs that migrants and non-migrating equivalents share as members of the same national-origin group, that is, their culture. I use this innovative method to estimate the net exogenous impact of traditional values on female labor-force participation in Europe. I find that this impact is much larger than standard regression methods would suggest.

Pulling Closer and Moving Apart: Interaction, Identity, and Influence in the U.S. Senate, 1973 to 2009
Christopher C. Liu and Sameer B. Srivastava
This article reconciles two seemingly incompatible expectations about interpersonal interaction and social influence. One theoretical perspective predicts that an increase in interaction between two actors will promote subsequent convergence in their attitudes and behaviors, whereas another view anticipates divergence. We examine the role of political identity in moderating the effects of interaction on influence. Our investigation takes place in the U.S. Senate—a setting in which actors forge political identities for public consumption based on the external constraints, normative obligations, and reputational concerns they face. We argue that interaction between senators who share the same political identity will promote convergence in their voting behavior, whereas interaction between actors with opposing political identities will lead to divergence. Moreover, we theorize that the consequences of political identity for interpersonal influence depend on the local interaction context. Political identity’s effects on influence will be greater in more divided Senate committees than in less divided ones. We find support for these hypotheses in analyses of data, spanning over three decades, on voting behavior, interaction, and political identity in the Senate. These findings contribute to research on social influence; elite integration and political polarization; and identity theory.

Contact Theory in a Small-Town Settler-Colonial Context: The Reproduction of Laissez-Faire Racism in Indigenous-White Canadian Relations
Jeffrey S. Denis
This article builds on group position theory and the subcategorization model of intergroup contact by illustrating how, in a small-town settler-colonial context, contact tends to reproduce, rather than challenge, the inequitable racial structure. In Northwestern Ontario, Indigenous-settler relations are characterized by widespread intergroup marriage and friendship as well as pervasive prejudice and discrimination. Using 18 months of fieldwork and 160 interviews and surveys with First Nations, Métis, and non-Indigenous residents, I show that although contact is associated with less “old-fashioned” prejudice (i.e., overt categorical hostility), it does not necessarily eliminate whites’ superior sense of group position. Even white individuals who have close Indigenous friends or spouses often express laissez-faire racism. Three mutually reinforcing social processes—subtyping, ideology-based homophily, and political avoidance norms—interact to sustain whites’ sense of group superiority and justifications for racial inequity. These processes are facilitated by historical and structural conditions, in this case colonization and small-town dynamics.

Theory and Society 44(1)

Theory and Society, January 2015: Volume 44, Issue 1

Subordination and dispositions: Palestinians’ differing sense of injustice, politics, and morality
Silvia Pasquetti
Drawing on Bourdieu’s theory of habitus and incorporating insights from feminist and critical race and legal scholarship on the creation of “subjugated knowledge,” this article investigates the dispositional production of perceptions of injustice, politics, and morality among differently situated members of a subordinated population. Based on ethnographic fieldwork within and across the West Bank and the Israeli city of Lod, I track how the political rhetoric that Lod Palestinians use to describe key issues in their lives—for example, drug use and dealing, and poor formal education—differs from the moral judgments through which West Bank Palestinians, who have moved to the city and remain there precariously, interpret the same issues. This article traces this interpretive divergence to two dispositional formations: one that has emerged under protracted conditions of denigration, criminalization, and surveillance in Lod and the other that has been produced over time by military rule in the West Bank and imported to Lod by West Bank Palestinians who moved there. It concludes by calling attention to the role of dispositions in studies of identity-formation and boundary-work as well as issues of submission and resistance in contexts of subordination.

Maintaining ethnic boundaries in “non-ethnic” contexts: constructivist theory and the sexual reproduction of diversity
Z. Ozgen
How can ethnic boundaries survive in contexts of legal racial equality and institutionalized ethnic mixing? Constructivist theories of ethnicity have long emphasized the fluidity, rather than the durability, of ethnic boundaries. But the fact that ethnic boundaries often endure—and even thrive—in putatively non-ethnic political contexts suggests the need for sustained attention to the problem of boundary persistence. Based on an ethnographic study of ethnic boundaries in the Turkish case, this article argues that the regulation of the domain of sexuality and marriage can play a critical role in reproducing boundaries when political institutions neither acknowledge nor aid in the survival of ethnic diversity. Ultimately, the data provide substantial evidence that the transmission and internalization of informal rules of inter-ethnic sexual conduct are central to boundary maintenance.

Deep culture in action: resignification, synecdoche, and metanarrative in the moral panic of the Salem Witch Trials
Isaac Ariail Reed
Sociological research on moral panics, long understood as “struggles for cultural power,” has focused on the social groups and media conditions that enable moral panics to emerge, and on the consequences of moral panics for the social control systems of societies. In this article I turn instead to modeling the specific cultural process of how the conditions for a moral panic are turned into an actual moral panic, moving the understanding of moral panic away from its Durkheimian origins and towards a process-relational cultural sociology. Drawing on Roland Barthes’ theory of myth and Kenneth Burke’s dramatism, the paper posits the cultural process of resignification via synecdoche and metanarrative as the driver of the disproportion, concern, hostility, consensus, and volatility of moral panics. This process can be carefully traced in the case of the Salem Witch Trials; a retrospective reading reveals the same process at work in the “Mods and Rockers” panic analyzed by Stanley Cohen. Beyond moral panics, theorizing resignification as a non-exclusive counterpoint to framing and ideational embeddedness enriches the theoretical repertoire of cultural sociology. “Deep culture” and mythological signification can, using the schema proposed here, be understood as practical accomplishments—rhetorical responses to particular situations that, when performed successfully, legitimate violence and other forms of domination.