What the Study of Legal Cynicism and Crime Can Tell Us About Reliability, Validity, and Versatility in Law and Social Science Research

Posted: 19 Oct 2020

See all articles by John Hagan

John Hagan

Northwestern University - Department of Sociology

Bill McCarthy

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers University, Newark

Daniel Herda

Merrimack College

Date Written: October 1, 2020

Abstract

We call for a further appreciation of the versatility of concepts and methods that increase the breadth and diversity of work on law and social science. We make our point with a review of legal cynicism. Legal cynicism's value, like other important concepts, lies in its versatility as well as its capacity for replication. Several classic works introduced legal cynicism, but Sampson & Bartusch named it. Kirk & Papachristos used a cultural framework to broaden it and added essential measures of perceived unresponsiveness and incapacity of police to ensure neighborhood safety and security. A structural theory of legal cynicism explains minority residents’ skepticism of, and desperate reliance on, police in the absence of alternative sources of safety. Historical and ethnographic studies play especially important roles in broadening the versatility of legal cynicism for the study of crime and responses to it.

Suggested Citation

Hagan, John and McCarthy, Bill and Herda, Daniel, What the Study of Legal Cynicism and Crime Can Tell Us About Reliability, Validity, and Versatility in Law and Social Science Research (October 1, 2020). Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 16, pp. 1-20, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3711279 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-lawsocsci-031620-093358

John Hagan (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Department of Sociology ( email )

1810 Chicago Ave
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Bill McCarthy

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers University, Newark

180 University Avenue
Newark, NJ 07102
United States

Daniel Herda

Merrimack College

North Andover, MA 01845
United States

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