Thinking about Crime: Race and Lay Accounts of Lawbreaking Behavior
Thompson, Victor R.
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CitationThompson, Victor R., and Lawrence D. Bobo. 2011. Thinking about crime: race and lay accounts of lawbreaking behavior. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 634(1): 16-38.
AbstractLay or commonsense accounts of the origins of criminal behavior may play a key role in sustaining a strong public appetite for harsh criminal justice policies and undergird large black-white differences in opinion in this domain. Using data from the nationally representative Race, Crime, and Public Opinion project’s 2001 survey, the authors develop an explanatory mode typology for accounts of involvement in criminal behavior. These include both individualistic and structural accounts of behavior in addition to a mixed-mode category. The authors identify key differences in the demographic and sociopolitical bases of the attributional types and find significant race differences in these attributional types. Attributions strongly affect how individuals wish to see public policy respond to the problem of crime and explain a small but significant fraction of the black-white difference in crime policy views.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:11223561
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