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African American Collective Action and Crime, 1955-91

Gary Lafree and Kriss A. Drass
Social Forces
Vol. 75, No. 3 (Mar., 1997), pp. 835-854
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2580521
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2580521
Page Count: 20
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African American Collective Action and Crime, 1955-91
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Abstract

Connections between collective action and common crime are often politically sensitive: regimes may benefit to the extent that they can dismiss collective action as the work of criminals; criminals may benefit to the extent that they can justify their actions as politically motivated. Although there is widespread disagreement about the exact relationship between collective action and crime, the dominant sociological view in recent years has been that the incidences of the two are unrelated. Our analysis of annual changes in African American civil rights-related collective action and African American and white arrest rates (robbery, homicide, burglary), 1955-91, reveals a more complex relationship: collective action and crime rates are positively related until the mid-1970s for both African American and whites but unrelated, or negatively related, afterward.

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