This blog is an extension of my intellectual sojourn in contemporary social disorganization theory. By contemporary social disorganization theory, I am discussing the scholarship which explores the causes of social controls, particularly those at the neighborhood level. This engagement, thus, considers the Broken Windows hypothesis, first presented formally by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling in 1982, and Collective Efficacy theory, first presented formally in 1997 by Robert J. Sampson, Stephen W. Raudenbush, and Felton Earls.

Each theoretical position considers the role of disorder differently. It is these differences which has resulted in a great deal of tension between the two positions. However, I suggest an additional problem with both constructs, and that is way that disorder is interpreted. That is, I suggest the main weakness both theories have is the diminutive operationalization of culture in studies. More importantly, culture shapes the way we socially construct the world. As such, it should be an important factor in examining environmental cues and determining what those cues mean for the people who use the space that those cues reside in.

I am a doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Urban Studies. My primary interest is in the way that environmental cues can shape social behavior. It is hoped that my scholarship may add to the contemporary social disorganization scholarship in paving ways to make neighborhoods safe and viable.


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