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
Blau, Judith R., and Peter M. Blau: Inequality and Crime
Matthew R. Lee
In their seminal article “The Cost of Inequality: Metropolitan Structure and Violent Crime” published in the American Sociological Review in 1982, Judith R. and Peter M. Blau advanced a hypothesis concerning the links between race, socioeconomic inequality, and violent crime in the United States. The essence of their argument was that inequalities in the distribution of valued resources may be viewed as legitimate if the inequities are based on achieved characteristics like education or skill level. However, inequality in the distribution of valued resources on the basis of inborn or ascribed characteristics, when apparent in a cultural context like the United States that supposedly values equality and opportunity for all, will be viewed as illegitimate and unjust. According to their hypothesis, where conditions of socioeconomic inequality based on ascribed characteristics are widespread, rates of violence can be expected to be higher. Thus, the actual focus is on economic inequality consolidated ...