Hate Crimes: Perspectives on Offending and the Law

  • Ryan D. King
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)

The study of crime motivated by prejudice or bigotry, now commonly known as hate crime, constitutes a recent and still nascent area of social science inquiry. Only in the past 15 years has a definable corpus of research in this area emerged, and like any developing body of work, this research has experienced some growing pains. Conceptually, scholars disagree on a singular definition of “hate crime.” Theoretically, it remains debatable whether research is better informed by theories of prejudice or theories of crime and punishment. Methodologically, research is plagued by a dearth of reliable data, and no clear consensus has emerged on the meaning of government hate crime statistics. Some scholars, for instance, view hate crime statistics as reliable measures of offending (Medoff, 1999), while others treat precisely the same information as more accurately measuring law enforcement attention to the issue (McVeigh, Welch, & Bjarnason, 2003). The goal of this chapter is to illuminate these and related debates in the study of hate crime and to suggest avenues for future research.


Sexual Orientation Police Officer Hate Crime Informal Social Control National Crime Victimization Survey 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryan D. King
    • 1
  1. 1.University at Albany, SUNYAlbanyUSA

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