The sociology professor's paper examines the justification of violence and "crimes of everyday life" across 52 nations.
Rena Zito, assistant professor of sociology and coordinator of the criminal justice studies program recently published a paper in the Australia and New Zealand Journal of Criminology.
The paper, “Institutional Anomie and the Justification of Morally Dubious Behavior and Violence Cross-Nationally: A Multilevel Examination,” uses data from the World Values Survey, the World Bank, and other sources to investigate individual- and nation-level variation in crime-supportive attitudes. Using multilevel statistical modeling and guided by the institutional anomie perspective in criminology, the author finds that conditions of “want amid plenty,” weakened family and education institutions, and the cultural fetishism of money predict nation-level justifications. She finds further that the moral expression of individual economic troubles is contingent on aspects of nation-level anomie, with the relationship between financial difficulties and justifications strongest under conditions of nation-level disintegrative individualism and economic inequality.
The paper speaks to recent calls to identify the social psychological implications of institutional anomie theory. Moreover, it builds on a burgeoning body of work on moral dispositions regarding “crimes of everyday life,” or relatively minor–but exceptionally common–infractions that shape the quality of life for people across the globe.
The Australia and New Zealand Journal of Criminology is a leading international journal for peer-reviewed, original criminological research, published by SAGE Publishing.