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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Police Violence and Citizen Crime Reporting in the Black Community

    High-profile cases of police violence—disproportionately experienced by black men—may present a serious threat to public safety if they lower citizen crime reporting. Using an interrupted time series design, this study analyzes how one of Milwaukee’s most publicized cases of police violence against an unarmed black man, the beating of Frank Jude, affected police-related 911 calls.

  4. Review Essays: The Black Child-Savers, Criminal Justice Discretion, and the Ghost of George Stinney, Jr.

    Jeffery T. Ulmer reviews The Black Child-Savers: Racial Democracy and Juvenile Justice, by Geoff K. Ward.

  5. The Bourgeoisie Dream Factory

    Effectively teaching sociological theories to undergraduate students is challenging. Students often enroll in theory courses due to major requirements, not personal interest. Consequently, many students approach the study of theory with anxiety. This study examined the effectiveness of an experiential learning activity designed to teach Karl Marx’s theory of alienation. Based on pretest/posttest surveys, responses to open-ended questions, and observational data, students reported that the activity helped them gain a clearer understanding of Marx.

  6. Scorn Wars: Rural White People and Us

    Contexts, Volume 16, Issue 1, Page 58-62, Winter 2016.
  7. Review Essays: Bully Nation and Our Current Predicament

    The publication of Bully Nation in 2016 could not have been more timely. Its release came as the United States witnessed acts of domestic terrorism and mass shootings, a rash of video-recorded police killings of unarmed African American men, and the successful presidential bid of a candidate whose campaign engaged in unprecedented acts of intimidation and personal abuse of political rivals, including threats of incarceration and political assassination of his opponent in the general election.
  8. Saving Children, Controlling Families: Punishment, Redistribution, and Child Protection

    This study shows that state efforts at child protection are structured by the policy regimes in which they are enmeshed. Using administrative data on child protection, criminal justice, and social welfare interventions, I show that children are separated from their families and placed into foster care far more frequently in states with extensive and punitive criminal justice systems than in states with broad and generous welfare programs.
  9. Costly Punishment Increases Prosocial Punishment by Designated Punishers: Power and Legitimacy in Public Goods Games

    A classic problem in the literature on authority is that those with the power to enforce cooperation and proper norms of conduct can also abuse or misuse their power. The present research tested the argument that concerns about legitimacy can help regulate the use of power to punish by invoking a sense of what is morally right or socially proper for power-holders.