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Steve Hinnefeld
IU Communications

Last modified: Thursday, July 19, 2012

IU professor awarded prize for top paper in criminology

July 19, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- William Pridemore, a professor in the Department of Criminal Justice in the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University Bloomington, has been awarded the Radzinowicz Memorial Prize for 2011, recognizing important scholarship in criminology.

William Pridemore

William Pridemore

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The prize is awarded each year by the British Journal of Criminology for the article that, in the opinion of the editors, makes the greatest contribution to the development of criminology.

Pridemore is being recognized for "Poverty matters: A reassessment of the inequality-homicide relationship in cross-national studies," published in September 2011. Pat Carlen, editor-in-chief of the journal, referred to Pridemore's paper as an "original and ground-breaking article" that editors were pleased to publish.

Pridemore surveyed several dozen prior cross-national studies that had found a positive relationship between inequality and national homicide rates but that failed to take into account the influence of poverty, the most consistent predictor of homicide rates in studies in the U.S. In replicating two of those studies, Pridemore found that when adjustments were made for poverty, the link between inequality and homicide disappeared, but there were consistent effects of poverty. Just as important to the article and the prize, he highlighted limitations of methods in this area of research and addressed the importance in the social sciences of undertaking replications.

"The new results are congruent with what we know about poverty, inequality and homicide from the U.S. empirical literature and suggest that the strong conclusions drawn about the inequality-homicide association may need to be reassessed," he wrote.

The Radzinowicz Prize carries an award of 500 British pounds and will be presented at the annual meeting of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies in London in November.

Pridemore, a faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington since 2003, is also director of IU Bloomington's Workshop in Methods and an affiliate faculty member of the Department of Sociology and the Russian and East European Institute. He is the American Society of Criminology's liaison to the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

His multidisciplinary research interests include the impact of social structure on homicide and suicide rates, the role of alcohol in violence and mortality, the sociology of health and illness, violence and the mortality crisis in Russia, crime in rural areas, the measurement of crime, and domestic terrorism.

To speak with Pridemore, contact Steve Hinnefeld at IU Communications, 812-856-3488 or