Cossman Am J Crim Just
Recent theoretical and empirical work on the relationship between community characteristics and crime has led to important refinements of social disorganization theory, yet there remain some substantive and methodological deficiencies in this body of work.
This article addresses these prob- lems and charts some promising new directions in social disorganization theory. Social disorganization refers to the inability of a community to realize common goals and solve chronic problems.
The theory fell out of favor in subsequent years, but it has experienced a revival in the past two decades beginning with the seminal works of KornhauserStarkBursikSampson and Groves We thank Robert Bursik, Avery Guest, Clayton A. Hartjen, Wesley Skogan, and anonymous reviewers for their comments on an earlier draft of this article.
Address correspondence to Charis E. Since the appearance of these works, the social disorganization literature has grown tremendously. There remain, however, some substantive and methodological deficiencies in this body of work, which we examine in this article. Among the substantive issues addressed are the explanatory power of certain variables hypothesized to mediate the relationship between exogenous structural conditions and neighborhood crime i.
Also discussed are other variables that have received almost no attention in the social disorgani- zation literature but, we argue, deserve to be examined by researchers study- ing neighborhood crime and disorder.
These include neighborhood culture, formal social control, and the urban political economy. In this vein, we discuss 1 dynamic models that allow for the measurement of changes over time in neighborhood ecological structures and crime, 2 reciprocal effects between social disor- ganization and crime how community organization shapes crime and how crime shapes community organization3 neighborhood contextual effects on individual outcomes, and 4 spatial interdependence e.
In discussing these issues, the article charts some promising new directions in social disorganization theory and research. We begin by analyzing advances in the conceptualization and testing of key mediating variables.
Social ties and informal control are theorized as mediating the effects of exogenous sources of social disorganization e. Examples of social ties are local friendship networks, recreational activities between neighbors, and atten- dance at local community meetings.
Subsequent work provides further evi- dence that social ties and social control help to lower neighborhood crime rates Bellair; Elliott et al. Unfortunately, many studies fail to examine the relationship between social ties and informal control, despite the fact that informal control has been traditionally theorized as an outcome of social ties Bursik Social ties and social control are usually tested as separate mediating vari- ables, ignoring possible interactions.
Recent advances, discussed below, have begun to address this deficiency. One issue is the need to disaggregate social ties, which may take very different forms.
It seems plausible that different types of ties vary in their potential for enabling social control. One might expect, for instance, that simple friendship or recreational ties between neighbors would have less potential for crime control than more organized or institution-based net- works, yet this proposition has rarely been tested.
Another problem is the almost exclusive focus on networks among law-abiding residents. Hence, social ties can help or hinder social organization, depending on the actors involved and their interests. Most of the literature, however, focuses on ties that are thought to enhance social con- trol, not weaken it.
These and other studies indicate a need to further investigate how social ties can differentially affect neighbor- hood crime rates.
Some argue that social ties are only important in terms of their resource potential, which is captured by the concept of social capital.
It is the resources transmit- ted through social ties, not the ties per se, that are key to facilitating social control. Such resources include obligations, information, trust, and norms.
Unfortunately, few studies have focused on the relationship between social capital and crime, but those that do, find support for this relationship Rose and Clear ; Rosenfeld, Messner, and Baumer Networks and resources may be necessary, but not sufficient, for social control.
What is missing is the key factor of purposive action i.
For the latter to occur, according to Sampson, Morenoff, and Earls ; Sampsonresidents must develop a willingness to take action, which depends, in large part, on conditions of mutual trust and solidarity among neighbors.
Moreover, collective efficacy largely reduces the effects of concentrated disadvantage and resi- dential instability on violence. Additional support for the role of collective efficacy in shaping crime is found in Morenoff, Sampson, and Raudenbushwho show that col- lective efficacy and concentrated disadvantage in Chicago neighborhoods influence homicide.
Moreover, social networks appear to be salient only insofar as they promote the capacity of residents to achieve social control and cohesion. Networks among law-abiding residents are a necessary but not sufficient condition for informal control of crime. Collective efficacy has been shown to be an important variable not only in predicting crime but also neighborhood disorder Sampson and Raudenbush Early studies portrayed the effects of disorder in various ways:Nov 17, · The things we learn in college are useless compared to teaching our children and students about how it is important to "follow our hearts" and do and go where we feel the best inside and only we know where we will feel the benjaminpohle.coms: Delicate parents, peer not into Tim Campbell’s backpack.
Somewhere along the way, the year-old eighth-grader from Connecticut developed a habit whose roots are complex but whose consequences couldn’t be clearer: utter disorganization. Social Disorganization Theory Utilitarianism Social Disorganization and Social Efficacy 2 LEARNING OBJECTIVES As discussed in Chapter 1, crime mapping is not a new practice of crime ana-lysts.
The literature is rich with theoretical justifications of ecological influences way for modern theorists and analysts who study crime in a social.
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