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NCJ Number: 220580 Find in a Library
Title: Assessing the Relevance of Ethnic Heterogeneity as a Predictor of Homicide at the Cross-National Level
Journal: International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice  Volume:31  Issue:1  Dated:Spring 2007  Pages:1-20
Author(s): Irshad Altheimer
Date Published: 2007
Page Count: 20
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Based on data from 53 nations, this study examined the relationship between ethnic heterogeneity and homicide at the cross-national level.
Abstract: The study indicates that ethnic heterogeneity is a significant predictor of homicide. The explanation for this finding derives from Shaw and McKay's (1969) social disorganization theory and Blau and Blau's (1982) theory on inequality and heterogeneity and crime. Social disorganization theory argues that ethnic heterogeneity is linked to competing value systems that, when accompanied by low economic status and residential mobility, undermine the social institutions necessary for establishing and maintaining social control. The failure of these institutions leads to social disorganization, which causes crime. Blau and Blau propose a macro-level sociological theory that accounts for the relationship between ethnic heterogeneity and homicide. The primary argument of this theory is that when members of ethnic minority groups disproportionately experience economic inequality, consolidated status distinctions emerge within society that reinforce ethnic and class differences and engender social conflict. The results of this study show the importance of incorporating ethnic heterogeneity into theoretical perspectives that attempt to explain cross-national variation in homicide. Second, these results show the importance of ethnic heterogeneity as a predictor of homicide at the cross-national level. Most previous cross-national criminological studies have virtually ignored ethnic heterogeneity. The findings also suggest that one way to reduce homicide would be to develop a crime-control policy that addresses the group conflict and social disadvantage that are linked to ethnic heterogeneity. Data on the average homicide rate in the 53 countries were from the World Health Organization Mortality Database for 1996-99. Data on ethnic heterogeneity were from The World Almanac and Book of Facts (Famighetti, 1996). Control variables were economic inequality, social support, the human development index, urbanization, gender ratio, and population percentage between 15 and 34 years old. 3 tables, 6 notes, 54 references, and appended homicide rate for each of the 53 nations
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Community conflict; Cross-cultural analyses; Ethnic groups; Ethnicity; Homicide; Homicide causes; Race; Race relations
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