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  1. Minorities' Homicide Victimization Rates Fall Significantly Compared to Whites'

    A new study reveals that while homicide victimization rates declined for whites, blacks, and Hispanics in the United States from 1990-2010, the drop was much more precipitous for the two minority groups.

  2. Unburdening Stigma: Identity Repair through Rituals in Mental Health Court

    A growing trend in the criminal justice system is the move toward problem-solving courts, including mental health courts. Using case studies of two mental health courts in a West Coast city, this article seeks to explore how mental health courts may operate by reducing stigma among clients. From observations of the court process in mental health courts and qualitative interviews with mental health court professional staff and mental health court clients, ritual process emerged as a powerful theme that underscores the management of social stigma.

  3. When Too Much Integration and Regulation Hurts: Reenvisioning Durkheims Altruistic Suicide

    Durkheim’s model of suicide famously includes four types: anomic, egoistic, altruistic, and fatalistic suicides; however, sociology has primarily focused on anomic and egoistic suicides and neglected suicides predicated on too much integration or regulation. This article addresses this gap. We begin by elaborating Durkheim’s concepts of integration and regulation using insights from contemporary social psychology, the sociology of emotions, and cultural sociology.

  4. Digital Punishment's Tangled Web

    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.

  5. States With Punitive Justice Systems Have Higher Rates of Foster Care, Study Finds

    The number of children in foster care across the country is driven not solely by child abuse and neglect, but by states' varying politics and approaches to social problems, a new University of Washington (UW) study finds.

    States with more punitive criminal justice systems tend to remove children from their homes far more frequently than those with generous welfare programs — meaning that two states with similar rates of child abuse and neglect could have very different rates of foster care entry.

  6. 2012 Presidential Address: Transforming Capitalism through Real Utopias

    This address explores a broad framework for thinking sociologically about emancipatory alternatives to dominant institutions and social structures, especially capitalism. The framework is grounded in two foundational propositions: (1) Many forms of human suffering and many deficits in human flourishing are the result of existing institutions and social structures. (2) Transforming existing institutions and social structures in the right way has the potential to substantially reduce human suffering and expand the possibilities for human flourishing.

  7. Study Reveals Incarceration’s Hidden Wounds for African American Men

    There’s a stark and troubling way that incarceration diminishes the ability of a former inmate to empathize with a loved one behind bars, but existing sociological theories fail to capture it, Vanderbilt University sociologists have found.

  8. Gaps in White, Black, and Hispanic Violence

    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.

  9. Relationships With Family Members, But Not Friends, Decrease Likelihood of Death

    For older adults, having more or closer family members in one’s social network decreases his or her likelihood of death, but having a larger or closer group of friends does not, finds a new study that was presented at the 111th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA).

  10. ‘I Miss You So Much’: How Twitter Is Broadening the Conversation on Death and Mourning

    Death and mourning were largely considered private matters in the 20th century, with the public remembrances common in previous eras replaced by intimate gatherings behind closed doors in funeral parlors and family homes.

    But social media is redefining how people grieve, and Twitter in particular — with its ephemeral mix of rapid-fire broadcast and personal expression — is widening the conversation around death and mourning, two University of Washington (UW) sociologists say.