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Sociology

Spring 2010

Video: Chicago gangs in the 1950s

Fifty years ago James F. Short Jr., a young sociologist at Washington State University, was asked to lead a study of Chicago gangs.

In this narrated slideshow, Short tells the stories behind photos of the groundbreaking 1956 study. You can read the story “Gangs of Chicago” here.

Spring 2010

Gangs of Chicago

Fifty years ago James F. Short Jr., a young sociologist at Washington State University, was asked to lead a study of Chicago gangs.

In smoky pool halls on Roosevelt Road, the baseball fields of Douglas Park, and the windy street corners of Lawndale, Short and a team of youth workers and sociologists spent three years trying to figure out if boys with monikers like Smack Daddy, Duke, and Commando were so very different from their counterparts in wealthier parts of the city.

The resulting groundbreaking analysis opened a window into the everyday experience of the Vice Lords, the Egyptian Cobras, the Imperial Chaplains, and the … » More …

Winter 2004

Prisons offer few economic benefits to small towns

Over the past three decades, many of the nation’s most depressed rural communities have vied to host new prisons, hoping that economic benefits would follow.

The trend grew in the early 1990s when an average of three 500-bed prisons opened around the country each week. Small towns courted new correctional facilities, sometimes offering free land or discounted municipal services to tempt them, believing they would get returns in new jobs and money.

But now they may be thinking differently about prisons, thanks to research led by Washington State University sociologist Gregory Hooks.

“We found no evidence that prison expansion has stimulated economic growth,” Hooks says … » More …

Summer 2004

Racial profiling in Washington—policy and perception

The likelihood of being stopped by the Washington State Patrol on state roads and highways is not affected by a driver’s race or ethnicity, according to Washington State University researchers who analyzed two million WSP contacts between May 2000 and October 2002.

The WSU report was issued last summer by political scientists Nicholas Lovrich and Mitchell Pickerill, criminal justice professors Michael Gaffney and Michael R. Smith, and sociologist Clay Mosher. Unlike studies in other states, the report indicates no evidence of biased policing in the rate of driver stops.

Washington is one of at least 14 states that have passed legislation to help eliminate “the … » More …

Spring 2005

Anna Grant—A life of firsts

Anna Harvin Grant, the first woman to earn a doctorate in sociology from Washington State University, died November 6, 2004, of heart failure. She was 81.

A nationally recognized expert in Black family life and former chair of the Department of Sociology at Morehouse College, Grant led a life of firsts.

She came to Pullman with a wave of top African American scholars who in the early 1950s were recruited to WSU’s new doctoral program in sociology. At the time the Ph.D. program was starting, several administrators with connections to predominantly Black colleges in the south put out a call to “send us your best … » More …

Summer 2009

Mixing it up

Not since white settlers surged west, overwhelming the native population, has Washington been at all diverse in its population, at least if one defines “diverse” by ethnicity rather than European country of origin. By 1890, whites represented 97 percent of Washington’s recorded populace, and that number remained static for decades. Now that mix has started to change. Just recently, the white (not Hispanic) portion of Washington’s population dropped below 80 percent, for the first time since the mid-19th century.

Annabel Kirschner, a professor in the Department of Community and Rural Sociology and an extension specialist, recently released “Increasing Diversity in Washington State 2000–2008,” the … » More …