Social Threat and Social Control: The Impact of Welfare on Incarceration and Arrest Rates

Stephanie Bontrager, Florida State University

ABSTRACT
Research on the relationship between threatening populations and conditions, and mechanisms of social control has increased steadily since the publication of Blalock's, Theory of Minority Group Relations, in 1967. Blalock's theory of social threat and social control asserts that unique types of threat illicit distinct forms of social control. Social threat theorists typically present two types of social control: coercive controls and placative controls. Coercive controls include incarceration, arrest, and other types of formal state surveillance. Welfare and other social programs are generally defined as placative forms of control. Much of social threat research examines how certain populations or social conditions affect measures of social control. The possibility that one type of social control may have effects on the other type of social control has not been fully explored. To test this hypothesis, the researcher will perform a meta-analysis of studies that explore the relationship between two macro forms of social control: welfare (placative), and incarceration and arrest (coercive). Specifically, the hypothesis that welfare has a negative or decreating effect on coercive forms of social control will be tested.

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Updated 05/20/2006