Crime and Social Control

Mission Statement

The Department of Sociology’s cluster in crime and social control emphasizes research and training for understanding the broad sociological causes and consequences of crime, deviance, and social control. Faculty within this cluster conduct qualitative and quantitative research that situates crime, whether in the form of adult offending, delinquency, drug use, or violence, in relation to inequalities and differences along the lines of race/ethnicity, class, gender, or geography. These scholars also examine social institutions, individually and interactively, both as sources of crime and deviance and as agents of prevention, control and suppression. Institutions and practices of particular interest to faculty include urban communities (Carr, Dinzey-Flores, Krivo), urban policy and design (Dinzey-Flores), schools (Hirschfield, Shepherd), families (Carr, Phillips, White), peer groups (Shepherd), police (Carr, Hirschfield), segregation and ethno-racial inequality (Dinzey-Flores, Krivo, Phillips), and the juvenile justice system (Hirschfield). Three of the scholars (Carr, Hirschfield, and Krivo) also teach in the inter-disciplinary criminal justice program. Faculty are also affiliated with the Center of Alcohol Studies, and the Center for Race and Ethnicity.

The Sociology faculty conducting research in this area have assembled or help manage unique community-level or national data sets that permit investigation of how multiple social institutions (communities, families, schools, police, juvenile correctional facilities) influence criminal and criminal justice behavior, and vice versa. These data sets are available for graduate students to use in conducting secondary data analysis. Faculty have also been successful in obtaining research grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (White), National Institute on Drug Abuse (Krivo, White), the National Science Foundation (Krivo, Phillips), and the U.S. Department of Justice (Hirschfield), which have provided full-time support for Sociology graduate students.


Departmental Chair
Julie Phillips

Graduate Director
Steven Brechin