Florida University Sociology Immigrants and Violent Crime Discussion

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Sociologists are curious as to how humans in “advanced” civilizations come to believe in certain things. How do we construct our everyday reality? For the most part, what we believe is part of how we are socialized. The role of higher education is to break us out of our everyday realities and begin to critically think about the world around us. When it comes to “violence,” we all start from a “taken-for-granted” perspective on what “is” violence and, to a certain extent, what is “acceptable” and “unacceptable” violence.

This assignment focuses on how we come to know what is acceptable or unacceptable, what is criminal or noncriminal, what is normal or abnormal, what is moral or immoral, or what is legitimate or illegitimate use of violence?


With a focus on the difference between “casual observations” and “formal research”, read the following article from the Cato Institute. It is a synopsis of the current research on immigrants and violent crime in the US.

And then watch the following video: 

You can also read the full transcript here.

Answer the following question(s). Make sure your response is at least 250 words in length.

1. What are your initial attitudes about the relationship between immigrants and violent crime? Does the data from the Cato Institute study validate or challenge your attitudes?

2. Considering the observations in the video how much social support is necessary for a particular definition or interpretation to be accepted by the broader society? IN OTHER WORDS: How much/which sector of society needs to be on board with an interpretation before it becomes widely accepted?

3. What effects does the relative power of rival interest groups with their respective claims have on the “spreading” of certain perspectives on problems such as violence? IN OTHER WORDS: How much is the “spread” of certain perspectives influenced by the amount of social power held by those who have that perspective? Does the most powerful voice generally win out?

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