Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: November 23, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959193 | Print ISBN: 9781412959186 | Online ISBN: 9781412959193| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Sampson, Robert J.: Collective Efficacy Theory
David S. Kirk
Collective efficacy is defined as the process of activating or converting social ties among neighborhood residents in order to achieve collective goals, such as public order or the control of crime (Sampson, 2006a; Sampson, Raudenbush, & Earls, 1997). Empirically, collective efficacy has been represented as a combined measure of shared expectations for social control and social cohesion and trust among neighborhood residents. The theory of collective efficacy helps explain one of the most robust findings in criminological research, that crime is nonrandomly distributed across geographic space. Collective efficacy also explains why neighborhood characteristics such as concentrated poverty and high levels of residential turnover are positively related to crime. Neighborhoods vary in their capacity for efficacious action, and Robert J. Sampson, Stephen W. Raudenbush, and Felton Earls argue that this variation explains differences across neighborhoods in levels of crime and violence. In order to understand the theoretical utility of the concept ...