OTB-Colloquium: Concentration of Visible Minorities and Perceptions of Neighbourhood Disorder: The Moderating Role of Interethnic Contact and Xenophobic Attitudes

11 april 2017 | 12:30 - 13:30
plaats: Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Room Berlage 2
door Communicatie BK

In research on communities and crime, disorder has been a pivotal concept for many years, assumed to be a key mechanism stoking fear, weakening social control and enticing crime in disadvantaged urban neighbourhoods.

About the colloquium

Despite it prominence, the core hypothesis of broken windows theory–that disorder increases serious crime– has found very little empirical support. One main reason for this unsatisfactory state is measurement: many studies have relied on the perceptions of survey respondents only. “Perception bias” –the divergence between respondents’ subjective assessments and systematic social observations of disorder– is not merely an issue of statistical rigor, but better understood as part of cognitive and social processes which form neighbourhood reputations.

The concentration of visible minorities is a particular salient issue connected to perceptions of neighbourhood disorder and crime, causing residents to “see” more disorder. This presentation will show whether the effect of neighbourhood ethnic composition on disorder perceptions is uniform or conditional on individual attitudes and behaviours that could counteract or promote these stereotypes. We used community survey data from 6129 respondents in 140 neighbourhoods in two German cities, combined with official socio-demographic data, police records, and systematic social observation of 4700 face blocks within these neighbourhoods.

About the speaker

Heleen Janssen is a postdoctoral researcher within the Urban and Neighbourhood Change research group at TU Delft. Her main research interests include urban sociology, neighbourhood effects and processes related to ethnic diversity and concentrated disadvantage.

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