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NCJ Number: 227869 Find in a Library
Title: Guanxi and Fear of Crime in Contemporary Urban China
Journal: British Journal of Criminology  Volume:49  Issue:4  Dated:July 2009  Pages:472-490
Author(s): Lening Zhang; Steven F. Messner; Jianhong Liu; Yue Angela Zhuo
Date Published: July 2009
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA 22230
Grant Number: 0351014
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This study tested the hypothesis that "guanxi," (a unique aspect of social capital in Chinese society) in a neighborhood is an important indicator of the social vulnerability (fear of crime) of individuals in urban China.
Abstract: "Guanxi" is commonly defined as a personal network that involves individual bonding, empathy, reciprocity, and trust (Geddie et al., 2005). It dictates and facilitates Chinese people's daily life. The study findings support the hypothesis that the level of quanxi in a Chinese urban neighborhood is a significant predictor of fear of crime among residents. Residents who had extensive guanxi networks in their neighborhoods were significantly less likely to exhibit fear of crime than those without these networks. This finding suggests that a critically important task for comparative criminology is to conceptualize social factors that might be uniquely relevant to particular social-cultural contexts, such that the impact of these factors should be distinguished across such contexts. Study data were collected from a multistage survey of residents in the Chinese city of Tianjin in 2004. This is the third largest city in China. The survey involved a multistage cluster sampling design that drew approximately 2,500 respondents 18 years old and older. At the study's second stage 50 neighborhood committees were selected for surveys through a combination of purposive and random selection. Fifty-one households were selected from each of the 50 selected neighborhoods. The dependent variable was self-reported fear of crime. Three composite measures of quanxi were used: social disorder and local assistance ties; collective efficacy at the neighborhood level; and social cohesion and informal social control. Sociodemographic control variables included gender, age, education, and family income. Other control variables involved indictors of vulnerability, namely perceptions of physical strength, alertness, and self-defense capabilities. 1 table, 71 references, and 1 appendix
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): China; Fear of crime; Foreign criminal justice research; Social conditions; Urban area studies; Urbanization
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