Type of Document Dissertation Author Shelley, Tara O'Connor URN etd-07052006-174753 Title Environmental Threat, Environmental Crime Salience, and Social Control Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Criminology and Criminal Justice, School of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Ted Chiricos Committee Chair Gary Kleck, Ph.D. Committee Member Robert Deyle, Ph.D. Committee Member Keywords
- Social Control
- Social Threat
- Environmental Crime
- Crime Salience
Date of Defense 2006-06-26 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe research explores whether perceptions of environmental threat influence support for environmental controls. To fulfill this purpose, the research builds on social threat and social control theory, which initially emphasized the putative threat of minorities as a factor that can influence mechanisms of social control. I argue the relevance of threat for social control can be more broadly understood and that social threats can have a variety of origins. Indeed, there are a number of threats that may be posed by various environmentally sensitive factors such as hazardous waste disposal, industrial pollution, and chemical spills.
Using national survey data collected in the spring of 2002, I assess whether perceptions of environmental threats and environmental crime salience are related to support for social control. Since it is plausible that respondents can experience different dimensions of environmental threat, I examine three variations—threats perceived at the general or global level, threats that impact individual health and safety, and the proximity of environmental threats. I also consider two separate types of social control. The first examines support for criminal justice controls, while the second explores support for conservation/policy oriented forms of control.
The research findings indicate that perceptions of environmental threat significantly increase support for environmental controls. More specifically, it appears that when environmental threats are proximate and personal, individuals are consistently more willing to endorse the use of punitive criminal justice controls. Conversely, people are not willing to support the use of punitive sanctions for general environmental threats that have no immediate or direct impact on them. In that context, conservation controls are consistently viewed as the appropriate form of control. The salience of environmental crime is also a consistent predictor of conservation and punitive controls.
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