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Title: Sociological Theory, Social Change and Crime in Rural Communities
Contributor(s): Donnermeyer, Joseph F  (author); Jobes, Patrick C (author); Barclay, Elaine  (author)
Publication Date: 2009
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Abstract: This chapter presents 'community' as a key concept from which to develop a comparative approach to the examination of crime among rural people and rural communities. Community is treated as a sociological framework that can relate individual behaviour, underlying economic and social structural characteristics, social meanings and the various demographic and ecological dimensions of social phenomena that are relevant to the examination of crime in the rural context (Liepins, 2000). A community approach recognizes the unique characteristics of rural social structure and rural cultures, but avoids a single template for rural settings, recognizing instead that specific rural places are each affected by historical, cultural, social, economic and geographical components. We emphasize rural for three reasons. Conceptually, rural communities across the globe share sufficient similarities to be considered a common phenomenon despite enormous cross-national and cross-cultural differences. Scientifically, rural community characteristics and their relationship to crime have remained relatively unstudied in the field of criminology, despite their global reconfiguration. Finally, crime in the rural context suffers from two mutually reinforcing myths. The first is that rural crime rates are always much lower than urban rates when comparing data from similar kinds of social units, such as state/provincial or county/county-equivalent level areas. Hence, stating the myth, rural crime research is neither necessary nor important to the scientific advance of criminology. The second is that rural places display less heterogeneity than urban places. Therefore, since rural communities are mostly alike and the data says urban rates are generally higher, by extrapolation, all rural places display lower crime and exhibit less interesting criminological phenomena to study (Donnermeyer and Jobes, 2000).
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: The ISA Handbook in Contemporary Sociology: Conflict, Competition, Cooperation, p. 305-320
Publisher: Sage Publications
Place of Publication: London, United Kingdom
ISBN: 9781849205122
Field of Research (FOR): 160804 Rural Sociology
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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Series Name: SAGE Studies in International Sociology
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