Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Community-level crime control: A closer look at the mediating variables of social disorganization theory
by Armstrong, David P., Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2010, 145; 3428106
Abstract (Summary)

The present study focuses on the mediating factors of social disorganization theory. To be more specific, this study combines the insights from the classical social disorganization model, the systemic model of crime, and the more recent work of Sampson and colleagues on collective efficacy and Carr (2003) on the new parochialism to answer some of the lingering questions within the perspective. The three mediating factors examined are social ties, collective efficacy, and organizational activism, a concept derived from Carr’s work on the new parochialism. The concept organizational activism refers to using local organizations with access to outside resources to indirectly solve local problems such as crime. While organizations have long been acknowledged as a potential source of crime control, their role has not been thoroughly examined. The analysis revealed that the role of local organizations in community crime control is much more complex than previously thought. By using simultaneous equation models, the analysis exposed the countervailing effects of organizational activism on crime and violence. While organizational activism appears to directly facilitate crime it also indirectly inhibits it by strengthening collective efficacy within a community. These countervailing influences may explain why previous research on local organizations that has relied on single equation models, such as multiple regression, has produced inconsistent findings. Another important finding involved the relationship between social ties and organizational activism. The significance of the relationship between social ties and organizational activism was a test between the systemic model of crime and the emerging line of thought that suggests social ties are not related to more modern forms of social control that rely on indirect methods to regulate a community. The study found that social ties positively affect organizational activism indicating that social ties may still play a prominent role in community-level crime control in today’s society. In the end, however, despite the recent focus on the mediating variables of social disorganization theory in the literature, the total effect of concentrated disadvantage on crime was greater than any other factor including collective efficacy.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Messner, Steven
Commitee: Deane, Glenn, King, Ryan
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Sociology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 72/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social research, Criminology
Keywords: Collective efficacy, Crime, New parochialism, Organizations, Social disorganization, Social ties
Publication Number: 3428106
ISBN: 978-1-124-33698-5
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