Politicized scholarship? Science on crime and the state

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43 Scopus citations


The association between state actions on the one hand and the production of scholarly knowledge about crime and crime control on the other is examined. This article provides an empirical examination on how the polity affects scholarly work. This can occur directly through research funding or indirectly as academic institutions change their internal organization in response to government-induced demand for training (e.g., by creating specialized criminology or criminal justice programs). Multivariate analyses of a sample of 697 scholarly journal articles published between 1951 and 1993 yield several findings. First, authors affiliated with criminology and criminal justice programs focus more strongly on topics and theories suggested by the state than authors from sociology programs (program effect). Second, articles based on funding provided by political agencies are more likely to relate to substantive and theoretical concerns articulated by the state (funding effect), but this effect is less pronounced than the program effect. Third, the relationship between a changing ideological climate and criminological knowledge is almost fully explained through funding and program effects. Finally, scholarly findings, that is conclusions drawn from data and their analysis regarding the validity of theories, are not associated with the institutional variables examined, indicating significant autonomy of the research process proper. Further research on causal links between state actions and scholarly production is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-348
Number of pages22
JournalSocial Problems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2002


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