Social Sciences

Journal Information
EISSN : 2076-0760
Current Publisher: MDPI AG (10.3390)
Total articles ≅ 1,462
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Published: 20 June 2021
Social Sciences, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/socsci10060234

There has been a significant focus on predictive policing systems, as law enforcement agents embrace modern technology to forecast criminal activity. Most developed nations have implemented predictive policing, albeit with mixed reactions over its effectiveness. Whilst at its inception, predictive policing involved simple heuristics and algorithms, it has increased in sophistication in the ever-changing technological environment. This paper, which is based on a literature survey, examines predictive policing over the last decade (2010 to 2020). The paper examines how various nations have implemented predictive policing and also documents the impediments to predictive policing. The paper reveals that despite the adoption of predictive software applications such as PredPol, Risk Terrain Modelling, HunchLab, PreMap, PRECOBS, Crime Anticipation System, and Azevea, there are several impediments that have militated against the effectiveness of predictive policing, and these include low predictive accuracy, limited scope of crimes that can be predicted, high cost of predictive policing software, flawed data input, and the biased nature of some predictive software applications. Despite these challenges, the paper reveals that there is consensus by the majority of the researchers on the importance of predictive algorithms on the policing landscape.
Published: 20 June 2021
Social Sciences, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/socsci10060235

Prior literature on judicial decision-making post-sentencing is relatively scarce, yet with the growth of problem-solving courts and offenders placed on probation, judges are responsible for overseeing compliance of offenders beyond traditional decision-making points. More recently, scholars have called for more nuanced methods of examining judicial decision-making, disparity, and attribution than traditional quantitative methods. This study examines the factors that influence judicial sanctioning of probationers for non-compliance in a domestic violence court. The following research questions are examined: Which factors predict whether a probationer is sanctioned for non-compliance? What are the discourses utilized to frame these violations? Are there differences in discourses utilized based upon a probationer’s race? This study combines participant observation of probation review hearings with agency records for a mixed-methods examination of which factors influence the decision to sanction non-compliant probationers, and whether differences emerge based on race. The sample included 350 cases of probation review hearings with 100 cases selected for critical discourse analysis. Results demonstrated that drug use, missed treatment sessions, gender, race, and family status influenced sanctioning decisions. Qualitative results demonstrated that judges evaluate probationers based upon contextual information, which at times relies on racial discourses of drug use and responsibility.
Published: 18 June 2021
Social Sciences, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/socsci10060233

While the precautionary principle may have offered a sound basis for managing environmental risk in the Holocene, the depth and width of the Anthropocene have made precaution increasingly untenable. Not only have many ecosystems already been damaged beyond natural recovery, achieving a sustainable long-term global trajectory now seem to require ever greater measures of proactionary risk-taking, in particular in relation to the growing need for climate engineering. At the same time, different optical illusions, arising from temporary emissions reductions due to the COVID-19 epidemic and the local deployment of seemingly “green” small-scale renewable energy sources, tend to obscure worsening global trends and reinforce political disinterest in developing high-energy technologies that would be more compatible with universal human development and worldwide ecological restoration. Yet, given the lack of feedback between the global and the local level, not to mention the role of culture and values in shaping perceptions of “sustainability”, the necessary learning may end up being both epistemologically and politically difficult. This paper explores the problem of finding indicators suitable for measuring progress towards meaningful climate action and the restoration of an ecologically vibrant planet. It is suggested that such indicators are essentially political as they reflect, not only different assessments of technological feasibility, but orientations towards the Enlightenment project.
Published: 17 June 2021
Social Sciences, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/socsci10060231

Connections with peers play an important role in adolescent mental health, but their lasting impact is unclear. This study examines whether structural status and support in adolescent networks predict depressive symptoms years later. Using data from the PROSPER Peers study (n = 1017), I find that the persistent effects of networks differ based on the mental health of teens and their friends. Structures of status and support relate to young adult mental health only for individuals who experience depressive symptoms as teens. Among depressive adolescents, popularity predicts lower subsequent depressive symptoms, while high prestige predicts higher depressive symptoms in young adulthood. Embeddedness among depressed friends also predicts higher young adult depressive symptoms. Overall, findings suggest relationships with peers can set the stage for mental health for adolescents who experience depressive symptoms or have depressive friends.
Published: 17 June 2021
Social Sciences, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/socsci10060232

The English Puritans of New England are a foundational element in the current racist ideology of White Supremacy. Depicted in history books as stalwart British Protestants who braved bitter winters and Native predations to establish a “City on the Hill”—a beacon to the world of freedom and liberty—the Puritans became ideals in the American consciousness. But what if this is a misrepresentation, created largely in the mid and late 1800s to serve as a political barrier against Catholic, East European, Jewish, and Asian immigrants who threatened the “American way of life”? The present research uses genealogical DNA data collected from descendants of the New England settlers to demonstrate that these original “Yankees” were of Jewish ancestry. The WASP origination of New England is shown to be a false narrative.
Published: 16 June 2021
Social Sciences, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/socsci10060230

The findings of this study outline the racial differences in stop and frisk decisions by Illinois officers in consent searches and those based upon reasonable suspicion within the context of the elements of focal concerns theory. The analysis for this study was performed using propensity score matching (PSM) and allowed the researchers to create a quasi-experimental design to examine the race of the citizen and police decision making. According to our analysis of official Illinois law enforcement data, Black citizens, particularly males, were less likely to give their consent to a stop and frisk search. Black male citizens were also more likely to be stopped and searched due to an assessment of reasonable suspicion by the officer. Elements of focal concerns theory were also factors in pedestrian stops under conditions of consent and reasonable suspicion. Citizens judged as blameworthy were more likely to be stopped and frisked under conditions of consent and reasonable suspicion. The effect of a verbal threat and the officer’s prior knowledge about the citizen had even more significant impacts.
Published: 15 June 2021
Social Sciences, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/socsci10060228

As student veterans transition to four-year institutions from the military, they navigate pathways that are often neither linear nor easy. Using Turner’s theory of liminality, we examine student veterans’ perspectives of the transition from military to civilian life. Interviewees include 60 student veterans from all military branches from four universities in the USA. Student veterans describe successes and challenges as they matriculate into engineering education as transfer students. Analyses of qualitative data yield original findings about the importance of mentors and student veteran networks for fostering student veterans’ educational interests and in promoting their persistence. This study uses a framework of liminality to highlight the bridge between prior military position and a forthcoming reentry into society with a new professional identity as an engineer. In describing their studies, student veterans greatly valued military-learned skills, such as patience, discipline, and technical skills, that give them an advantage in their engineering studies. These findings will be relevant to researchers studying transitions in general and researchers investigating veterans or other populations experiencing transitions. University leaders, including student affairs administrators, faculty members, and others who serve the student veteran community will also benefit from the results.
Published: 15 June 2021
Social Sciences, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/socsci10060229

Past research has shown mixed results regarding the persuasiveness of two-sided messages. Various underlying constructs were suggested to explain the differences in results. This study draws on the Yin-Yang Balancing (YYB) theory and the construct of tolerance for contradiction (i.e., the tolerance for inconsistency and resolution among contrasts) to explain differences in the effectiveness of two-sided ads. The study consisted of a cross-cultural survey involving Easterners, who hold typically higher tolerance for contradiction, with Westerners characterized by a lower tolerance for contradiction. A series of analyses of variance (ANOVAs) were conducted to explore the difference between both groups on key variables. Structural equation modeling (SEM) tested the proposed conceptual model as a whole and for both groups, highlighting key cross-cultural differences. Additionally, the PROCESS macro was used to test the mediation effects posited in the model. The findings showed that although the tolerance for contradiction does not directly impact purchase intentions, it exerts both direct and indirect effects on purchase intentions through credibility and attitudes for Easterners but not for Westerners. The findings offer important theoretical and managerial implications: Two-sided ads are more effective to consumers with a higher tolerance for contradiction (e.g., Easterners) versus consumers with a lower tolerance for contradiction (e.g., Westerners).
Published: 14 June 2021
Social Sciences, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/socsci10060227

The study of migrations and mobility has historically been severely limited by the absence of reliable data or the temporal sparsity of available data. Using geospatial digital trace data, the study of population movements can be much more precisely and dynamically measured. Our research seeks to develop a near real-time (one-day lag) Twitter census that gives a more temporally granular picture of local and non-local population at the county level. Internal validation reveals over 80% accuracy when compared with users’ self-reported home location. External validation results suggest these stocks correlate with available statistics of residents/non-residents at the county level and can accurately reflect regular (seasonal tourism) and non-regular events such as the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017. The findings demonstrate that Twitter holds the potential to introduce the dynamic component often lacking in population estimates. This study could potentially benefit various fields such as demography, tourism, emergency management, and public health and create new opportunities for large-scale mobility analyses.
Published: 12 June 2021
Social Sciences, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/socsci10060226

In managing the coronavirus pandemic, national authorities worldwide have implemented significant re-bordering measures. This has even affected regions that had dismantled bordering practices decades ago, e.g., EU areas that lifted internal borders in 1993. In some national cases, these new arrangements had unexpected consequences in the field of immigration enforcement. A number of European jurisdictions released significant percentages of their immigration detention populations in spring 2020. The Spanish administration even decreed a moratorium on immigration detention and closed down all detention facilities from mid-spring to late summer 2020. The paper scrutinises these unprecedented changes by examining the variety of migration enforcement agendas adopted by European countries and the specific forces contributing to the prominent detention decline witnessed in the first months of the pandemic. Drawing on the Spanish case, the paper reflects on the potential impact of this promising precedent on the gradual consolidation of social and racial justice-based migration policies.
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