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Ethnic Homophily and Triad Closure: Mapping Internal Gang Structure Using Exponential Random Graph Models
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, The Institute for Analytical Sociology, IAS. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Metropolitan State University, MN USA.
2015 (English)In: Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, ISSN 1043-9862, E-ISSN 1552-5406, Vol. 31, no 3, 354-370 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Previous studies indicate the importance of similarities between street gang members in terms of ethnicity for mapping the patterns of co-offending relationships within gangs. Individual members are more likely to co-offend with other members who are from the same ethnicity. Past studies, however, do not appropriately account for the fact that correlation between attributes of co-offending gang members may be driven by alternative mechanisms. Most importantly, the presence of clustering in networks can dramatically affect the assessment and make us believe that homophilythe deliberate choice to co-offend with others from the same ethnic groupis important while in fact it is not. In this article, we recreate the internal structure of a London-based street gang with exponential random graph (ERG) models. Our results refine the role of ethnicity for co-offending within gangs. While homophily is still prevalent, the effect diminishes when triad closurethe tendency for two individuals to offend with each other when they also offend with a common third personis considered. Furthermore, we extend existing ERG specifications and investigate the interaction between ethnic homophily and triad closure. Findings indicate that ethnic homophily is even stronger when it is embedded in co-offending triads.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SAGE Publications (UK and US) , 2015. Vol. 31, no 3, 354-370 p.
Keyword [en]
street gangs; group processes; exponential random graph models; homophily; triad closure; clustering
National Category
Social Work Probability Theory and Statistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-120334DOI: 10.1177/1043986214553377ISI: 000357669200008OAI: diva2:843912
Available from: 2015-07-31 Created: 2015-07-31 Last updated: 2015-07-31

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Grund, Thomas
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The Institute for Analytical Sociology, IASFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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