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Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies


The Department of Sociology offers a specialization in Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies. It focuses on the causes, manifestations, consequences, and control of crime, ranging from youth and adult street crime to domestic violence, corporate crime, white-collar crime, and crimes committed by the government or its agents. An understanding of crime and its prevention requires multidisciplinary research. While this is recognized, the specialization emphasizes sociological approaches involving the structural and cultural factors producing crime and violence, such as structural transformations of the urban landscape and the connections between race, disadvantage, and violent victimization. The specialization also emphasizes theories of law and their application to the legal system and its relation to other social institutions and social phenomena. This emphasis extends to how these factors shape conceptions of crime and influence the legal system. Basic research knowledge about crime and legal issues is central to this specialization, but applying that knowledge to inform legal policies and practices is also emphasized.