Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
sociology masthead
Robert Crosnoe, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

Spring 2010

SOC 308 • Crime and Violence in Urban Latin America

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
46220 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
BUR 134

Course Description

This course explores the reasons for rising levels of crime and violence in cities throughout Latin America. It reviews the statistics on crime and violence and their shortcomings. It considers relevant local factors such as poverty and lack of job opportunities as well as general factors, such as the changing nature of the drug trade and forced return migration. Other factors taken into account are patterns of urban residential segregation, including the impact of gated communities and the organization of low-income areas, such as favelas in Brazil or of spatially isolated poor neighborhoods in cities such as Lima and Guatemala.

The course also considers the adequacy of police and judicial institutions to handle crime and violence and initiatives to remedy these through reform and local community initiatives. The course will make use of videos that examine the various facets of urban crime and violence in Latin America. The course grade will be based on a mid-term exam and a final paper in which students can, if they wish, concentrate on a city or country of their choice.

Grading Policy

There will be two in-class exams 30% each
There will be an individual assignment consisting of a short report on a video 10%
Final report of 2000 words due last class day 30%
The in-class exams will consist of multiple choice questions and short answer questions


Caroline O.N. Moser and Cathy McIlwaine, Encounters with violence in Latin America : urban poor perceptions from Columbia and Guatemala
Citizens of Fear: urban violence in Latin America, edited by Susana Rotker
Robert L. Ayres., Crime and violence as development issues in Latin America and the Caribbean


bottom border