Social Threat and Social Control

Edited by Allen E. Liska

Subjects: Criminology
Series: SUNY series in Deviance and Social Control
Paperback : 9780791409046, 254 pages, July 1992
Hardcover : 9780791409039, 254 pages, July 1992

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

List of Illustrations

List of Tables



1. Introduction to the Study of Social Control
Allen E. Liska

Part I: Fatal Controls

2. Toward a Threat Model of Southern Black Lynchings
Stewart E. Tolnay and E. M. Beck

3. Specifying and Testing the Threat Hypothesis: Police Use of Deadly Force
Allen E. Liska and Jiang Yu

Part II: Coercive Controls

4. The Reporting of Crime: A Missing Link in Conflict Theory
Barbara D. Warner

5. Minority Group Threat, Social Context, and Policing
Pamela Irving Jackson

6. Social Structure and Crime Control Revisited: The Declining Significance of Intergroup Threat
Mitchell B. Chamlin and Allen E. Liska

7. Extralegal Influences on Imprisonment: Explaining the Direct Effects of Socioeconomic Variables
James Inverarity

Part III: Beneficent Controls

8. The Mental Health and Criminal Justice Systems: Complementary Forms of Coercive Control
Thomas M. Arvanites

9. Intergroup Threat and Social Control Welfare Expansion among States during the 1960s and 1970s
Mitchell B. Chamlin

10. Conclusion: Developing Theoretical Issues
Allen E. Liska



List of Contributors



This book examines the conflict theory of social control, particularly the threat hypothesis. It asserts that deviance and crime control are responses to social threats such as criminal acts and riots, and to people perceived as threatening such as minorities and the unemployed. The authors use threat hypothesis to organize the diverse literatures on social control, use new data to resolve crucial issues, and integrate current perspectives to develop the threat proposition. They analyze patterns of deviance and crime control ranging from fatal or lethal controls such as state executions or lynching, to physical restraint such as imprisonment, to beneficient controls such as mental health hospitalization and even welfare.

Allen E. Liska is Profesor of Sociology at the State University of New York, Albany. He is the author of The Impact of Attitudes on Behavior: The Consistence Controversy and Perspectives on Deviance. He is the coeditor of Theoretical Integration in the Study of Deviance and Crime: Problems and Prospects, also published by SUNY Press.


"I agree with Liska's assessment of the state of knowledge on coflict and social control, and believe that his integrative approach is well suited to a resolution of problems in this area. Propositions generated from conflict perspectives are especially relevant to an understanding of shifts in levels of social control. Consideration of propositions that have developed out of the broad-based literature of the field will provide a clearer understanding of the linkages among control emanating from different institutional arenas. I think that Liska is on to something very important in this regard. " — Ronald A. Farrell, University of Nevada, Las Vegas