Working Title of PhD: Violent and Property Victimization in Santiago Disadvantaged Neighbourhoods: An Extended Model of Social Disorganization and Cultural-Frame Approaches
Year commenced PhD study: 2012 (Full time)
Funding Source: Scholarship from the Government of Chile
PhD Supervisors: Dr Paul Norris, Professor Susan McVie
Synopsis: The existence of poor, stable and well-organized neighbourhoods, and yet with high levels of violent crime, in Latin America, constitutes a challenge for social disorganization theory. Social disorganization theory stated that in poor neighbourhoods, residents cannot develop the ability for maintain social order regarding to conventional norms, due to the weaknesses of their informal networks and associational ties. As a result, victimization tends to be high in those areas. Nevertheless, the existence of dense ties and frequent exchanges may clash with community efforts to establish social control in contexts of the greatest social exclusion, as happens in Latin America slums. Mutual obligations between law-abiding residents and delinquents and the fear of retaliation inhibit citizens-police nexus. Besides, the weak presence of law enforcement agencies and residents’ global distrust in those institutions reduce incentives to report crime or to engage in crime prevention actions. As a result, although most inhabitants continue believing in the law, they often have to resort to violence as a mechanism for survival in an adverse environment. Thus, legal cynicism may have a direct effect on the rise of violent victimization and an indirect effect, through a decrease of informal control. In this context, to what extent structural conditions, community organization and legal cynicism, as cultural-frame, influence the experience of victimization in Santiago neighbourhoods? For answering this question, multilevel Structural Equation Models will be tested using data from a previous study, carried out by the University of Chile (2009-2012). The multilevel analysis of Santiago neighbourhoods may illustrate how mechanisms of social organization and culture differentially mediate the impact of structural conditions on violent and property victimization, providing a useful holistic framework for further research in Latin American cities.
Keywords: Neighbourhood-effects, violent victimization, informal control
- University of Edinburgh