Threat, Social Control and Urban Violence: Examining Black Threat, Incarceration Rates and Urban Disadvantage in the Study of Violence

Karen F. Parker, University of Florida

Much of the race-relations literature points to the decline in marrigeability in urban areas. Some scholars suggest this is due to an increase in joblessness among black males; others attribute it to a "marriage squeeze"-- the point at which women who wish to marry outnumber available men. High mortality rates among young black men, in addition to high rates of incarceration, have been suggested to further exacerbate the imbalance in the pool of potential spouses. In this paper we explore the influence of disaggregated incarceration rates when examining the linkages between urban disadvantage and race-specific homicide rates. That is, we explore the direct and indirect relationships between urban disadvantage, marriageability, incarceration rates and violence among race-specific groups. By incorporating social control efforts into this study of violence, we integrate arguments of black threat with urban disadvantage when explaining the racial disparities in incarceration rates and violence in urban areas.

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Updated 05/20/2006