Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date

2000

Center/Program

Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought

Abstract

The social norm movement in criminal justice has received a lot of attention in academic and public policy circles. This essay critically examines social norm writings and explores some of the implications for methods of proof and research design in the social sciences. In the process, the essay offers an alternative theoretical approach. This alternative focuses on the multiple ways in which the social meaning of practices (such as juvenile gun possession, gang membership, or disorderly conduct) and the social meaning of policing techniques (such as juvenile snitching policies, youth curfews, or order-maintenance policing) may shape us as contemporary subjects of society. This alternative theoretical approach has its own important implications for methods of proof and research design, and the essay develops these implications into a four-prong research agenda.

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