Americans love crime. The criminal justice system is fetishized in popular culture and news media. We watch the news and scour the Internet to assess our own moral compass, take cues from others' digressions, and bear witness to justice and punishment. Historically, we learned about crime through news media and fiction. The Internet has dramatically changed this landscape: for the first time, mug shots and jailhouse rosters are available with a click.
Despite significant public, political, and media attention to the issue of criminal violence in the United States, we know surprisingly little about the trends in violent crime for different racial/ethnic groups in recent decades. For example, what are the disparities in homicide between whites, African Americans, and Hispanics? Have these disparities changed over the past 20 years? If so, why? This lack of knowledge is largely due to data limitations, as ethnic identifiers are rarely collected in many official crime statistics.
ASA speaks with sociologist Christopher Dum at the 2016 ASA Annual Meeting on August, 2016, in Seattle, WA. Dum talks about what it means to “do sociology,” how he uses sociology in his work, highlights of his work in the field, the relevance of sociological work to society, and his advice to students interested in entering the field.
Against the background of events that have unfolded over the last week, we are writing today to let you know that ASA is monitoring events carefully, has responded to some developments already, and will continue to respond in the future. And we welcome and need your help with this effort.
The American Sociological Association (ASA) calls on President Trump to reverse his decision to end the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA). Absent such a reversal, we implore Congress to reinstate the program with expedience. DACA currently affects almost 800,000 young, undocumented immigrants by providing a work permit and protection from deportation. DACA status expires every two years, and immigrants are eligible for renewal.
The Sociology of Development Section announces a new policy brief series: Sociological Insights for Development Policy. The purpose of the series is not only to raise awareness of the thought-provoking research being done by members of the section, but also to strengthen engagement between scholars, policy makers and development practitioners. The long-term aim is to enhance sociology’s impact on development discourse and practice throughout the world. Sociological Insights for Development Policy publish short (2-page) briefs that are distilled from section members’ research.
With access to more personal data than ever before, police have the power to solve crimes more quickly, but in practice, the influx of information tends to amplify existing practices, according to sociological research at the University of Texas at Austin.
Despite having only about 5 percent of the world's population, the United States was the attack site for a disproportionate 31 percent of public mass shooters globally from 1966-2012, according to research presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA).