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Social disorganization theory: The role of attenuated culture on crime

Tanya Gladney, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

Crime in urban neighborhoods has historically captured the attention of scholars who examine community influences on delinquency and crime. Social disorganization has been a leading theory in community research over the years, particulary with regard to community crime. The theory has provided a framework that has been extended by scholars by including structural and cultural variables. The purpose of this study is to extend Warner's 2003 research by examining the effects of structural and cultural disorganization on urban community crime rates. ^ This study uses secondary data from two cities (Louisville and Lexington, KY). The study examines seven hypotheses to explore whether or how respondents' perspective on cultural strengths mediates the effects of informal social control on crime. These are: H1 Higher stability will be associated with higher social ties and informal social control; H2 More concentrated disadvantage will be associated with less cultural strength and informal social control; H3 More social ties will be directly associated with more cultural strength; H4 Communities with more conventional values will have more cultural strength, and more cultural strength will be associated with more informal social control; H5 More stability will be associated with lower crime rates; H6 More concentrated disadvantage will be associated with higher crime rates; and, H7 More informal social control will be associated with lower crime rates. ^ Overall results from the path analysis indicate no direct association between respondents' perception of cultural strength and crime rates. However, respondents' perception of cultural strength had a significant negative total indirect effect on both total victimization and personal victimization. The relationship was stronger with personal victimization than total victimization. The findings suggest respondents' perception of cultural strength can only be said to operate through informal social control (that is, indirectly) to reduce crime.^

Subject Area

Sociology, Theory and Methods|Sociology, Criminology and Penology

Recommended Citation

Gladney, Tanya, "Social disorganization theory: The role of attenuated culture on crime" (2009). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3388963.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3388963

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