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NCJ Number: 202862 Find in a Library
Title: Regional Culture and Patterns of Homicide
Journal: Homicide Studies  Volume:7  Issue:4  Dated:November 2003  Pages:353-367
Author(s): Colin Loftin; David McDowall
Date Published: November 2003
Page Count: 15
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the association between measures of social stability and homicide rates.
Abstract: The culture of honor theory supposes that strong communities and families may promote violence if it advances collectively valued objectives. In the presence of a culture of honor that encourages violent responses to insults and threats, strong organization will increase the risk of honor-related homicide. In the South and West, where the culture of violence is strong, the argument-related homicide rate was positively associated with measures of community stability. Homicides that grew out of felony circumstances, which are counter normative in the culture of honor, were negatively associated with measures of community stability. The purpose of this study was to show that these conclusions were misleading given the quality of empirical evidence. A sample of 3,102 United States counties or county equivalents as defined by the Census Bureau in 1980 was used. The measures used were population, homicide, social stability, region, and control variables. The results show that there is little association of any type between non-Hispanic White male homicide rates and measures of social stability, regardless of the region. The pattern of significant results were reported in the study producing the culture of honor theory results is an artifact of the undercounting of homicides that leads to a very large number of zero rates. There were a few small counties with extremely high and unreliable rates that had a dominating influence on the estimates. The previous analysis does not provide support for the theory, and pending further investigation with more appropriate data and methods, it remains unconfirmed. More definitive results on this model will require greater precision in the measurement of homicide and other concepts as well as the use of analytical methods that are suited to the data. 2 figures, 3 tables, 1 appendix, 2 notes, 14 references
Main Term(s): Homicide causes; Society-crime relationships
Index Term(s): Behavior patterns; Behavioral science research; Crime Causes; Homicide; Societal norms; Violence causes
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