Stockholm university

2021 and 2022 winners of the Stockholm Prize in Criminology 

The award goes to Elijah Anderson, Peggy Giordano and Francis Cullen.

- Prize jury lauds pioneering ethnographies of violence and culture in African-American areas of concentrated poverty (2021) 
- Prize jury lauds theoretical and policy research showing the effectiveness of offender rehabilitation strategies (2022)

The 2021 Stockholm Prize in Criminology lauds Elijah Anderson, USA, for his observations and analyzes of mechanisms behind violence in socially, economically and ethnically segregated areas that have greatly contributed to our understanding of how different types of social interactions among young people lead to violence. 

The 2022 Stockholm Prize in Criminology lauds Francis Cullen and Peggy Giordano, USA, for their theoretical and policy research showing the effectiveness of offender rehabilitation strategies.

The research conducted by 2021 Stockholm Criminology laureate, Elijah Anderson, has considerably improved our understanding of the dynamics of interactions among young men and women that lead to violence, even among good friends. His years of immersion in street life in Chicago and Philadelphia provide a social microscope for understanding the consequences of prejudice and blocked opportunities through the eyes of people growing up in those areas. His widely-acclaimed books have attracted a wide readership and substantial scholarly influence, as his work has become a key link in the chaining of understanding high rates of violence in specific neighborhoods.

His research began in the 1970s as a PhD dissertation at Northwestern University, for which he spent almost three years studying one group of men on a street corner on Chicago’s south side. His analysis of the processes by which each man maintained his social status in the eyes of the others revealed a complex social order that was regulated in part by violence. The study became his widely-acclaimed first book, A Place on the Corner (1978).

Anderson went on to write four other books that explored interpersonal status hierarchies and divisions within African-American poverty areas. His 1999 book, Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City, developed a picture of the cultural divide in Philadelphia neighborhoods between the ”decent” and ”street’’ codes of behavior. While the decent code required adherents to work hard, keep their homes neat and clean, attend church, value education and stay out of trouble, the street code was largely defiant of those values, as well as of the police and the law. His book traces the complexity of coexistence of these oppositional codes in close contact between next-door neighbors and users of the same street space.

His 2011 book The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life, provides thick description of encounters between whites and blacks of different social classes in public spaces of big US cities. He shows how people can maintain order by nonverbal negotiation of the use of such spaces as park benches, sidewalks, and coffee shops, providing a framework for understanding such racial controversies as the policies of the Starbucks coffee shop chain on the use of toilets by customers and others. This book on interracial behavior provides a counterfactual to his prior studies of intra-racial interactions, sharpening our understanding of their respective dynamics

His 1990 book Streetwise: Race, Class, and Change in an Urban Community, developed close-up portraits of both intra- and inter-racial life in the era of the Crack epidemic in American cities. He develops important understandings of the interactions between police and young black men that continue to foster so much anger and fatal outcomes in the US.

His latest book, Black in White Space: The Enduring Impact of Color in Everyday Life (University of Chicago Press, 2022) is something of a sequel to The Cosmopolitan Canopy, in that it speaks specifically to the ways Black people navigate the perceptual categories of “white space” and the “iconic ghetto.” The book also introduces the idea of a new form of “symbolic racism.” White people typically avoid Black space, but Black people must navigate White space as a condition of their existence, and in doing so, they meet constant random challenges from people they encounter. The most profound challenge for anonymous Black people, and particularly those who are upwardly mobile, is their implicit association with the iconic ghetto; hence, how Black people live their everyday lives is influenced if not determined by their ability to negotiate a “place” betwixt and between these two racial polarities.

The 2022 Stockholm Criminology laureates, Francis Cullen and Peggy Giordano working independently over decades, have made closely linked demonstrations of what works in reducing repeat offending and why it works.

University of Cincinnati Professor Francis T. Cullen has spent decades reviewing the evidence that while prison per se does not reduce repeat offending, rehabilitation programs linked to criminal sentences can be very effective in stopping a life in crime. He has used this evidence, from a wide variety of tests, to become the leader of a scholarly campaign to “save rehabilitation” from budget cuts and political mandates. His own scholarship on the importance of both control and support of ex-offenders in the community has been globally influential in showing what works.

Bowling Green State University Professor Peggy C. Giordano and her colleagues have studied hundreds of young offenders to learn why some stop reoffending while others persist. Her team’s evidence reveals the pattern of “cognitive transformation” that is usually found among successful desistance from crime, but not among those who persist. This pattern, which can be prompted and cultivated by rehabilitation programs, has been widely accepted as showing a strong explanation of why those programs work.

Both scholars have considerably improved our understanding of the requirements for putting a stop to crime early in a criminal career, as well as in later years. At a time in which prisons, probation and parole are threatened by COVID cases that can suspend rehabilitation programs, their work suggests the importance of maintaining close links to offenders by any means possible. Their studies show that if governments cut back on such programs, they may do so at the peril of affected communities. Recent increases in homicide rates in the USA indicate the fragility of the current context. Decades of research by the Prize Laureates demonstrate the great value of sustaining rehabilitative services.

Award winners

Elijah Anderson (2021) is the Sterling Professor of Sociology and of African American Studies at Yale University, where he teaches and directs the Urban Ethnography Project. Born in 1943 in Missouri, Anderson received his B.A. from Indiana University Bloomington, his M.A. from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D from Northwestern University, where he was mentored by Howard S. Becker. In 2006, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Northwestern University. He has also taught at Swarthmore College, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University and the École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris.

Francis T. Cullen (2022) is Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus at the University of Cincinnati's School of Criminal Justice. Born in Boston in 1951, he received his B.A. from Bridgewater State College, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology and education from Columbia University. He has taught at the University of Cincinnati since 1982. He has served as President of both the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (1993-4) and the American Society of Criminology (2003-4). He received the Sutherland Award of the ASC in 2010, and has served as editor of both Justice Quarterly and the Journal of Crime and Justice.

Peggy C. Giordano (2022) is Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Bowling Green State University, where she has taught since 1974. She earned all her degrees in sociology: BA from University of Missouri, M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. Her research has been focused on adolescent and young adult problem behaviors, particularly juvenile delinquency and intimate partner violence. She relies on the ’’mixed methods’’ of qualitative and quantitative methods to explore life course variations in problem behavior involvement, and the role of social networks in patterns of stability and change. Her work on the experiences of a sample of highly delinquent youth (Legacies of Crime) focuses on the intergenerational transmission of crime and other negative developmental outcomes.

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