Examining the link between institutional and community violence: Toward a new cultural paradigm

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M. Byrne, James
Stowell, Jacob
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2007
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Abstract

New explanations of cultural processes are sought, in part, because existing hypotheses are at odds with new wave contemporary empirical findings. Namely, a growing body of scholarship calls into question the "racial invariance" hypothesis proposed by Sampson and Wilson (1995), particularly as it applies to Latinos. Based on these findings, it stands to reason that culture, in addition to structure, may be a property of communities that helps to explain racial/ethnic involvement in crime. This article explores the link between institutional and community violence, and then compares traditional perspectives on the influence of culture on violence (e.g. Wolfgang and Ferracuti's subculture of violence) with newer, more dynamic conceptualizations of the cultural influence of violence in both institutional and community settings (e.g. Sampson and Bean's relational theory of culture). The authors consider how both institutional and community violence may be explained using a new cultural paradigm, which moves beyond traditional views of "culture as values" to a new relational theory of "culture in action". They present a model for understanding, and researching, culture that is based on the notion that value systems in institutions and neighborhoods influence one another. Offering examples from recent research on prison culture, they examine the key dimensions of this new cultural paradigm, which describes culture as "intersubjective, performative, cognitive, relational, and world-making". The authors conclude that further examination of the reciprocal relationship between institutional and community culture is needed before we can begin to consider the policy implications of the "culture in action" paradigm.

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Aggression and Violent Behavior

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12

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5

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Causes and Prevention of Crime

Public Health and Health Services

Criminology

Psychology

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