ERIC Number: ED038454
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1969
Reference Count: 0
The Causes of Racial Disturbances: A Comparison of Alternative Explanations. Discussion Papers.
A range of hypotheses of varying specificity is examined in this paper in an attempt to account for the location of racial disorders. The initial sections consider what general assumptions must be met by any satisfactory explanation of the distribution of disorders. Mathematical models are constructed which embody the most prevalent assumptions as to the determinants of community riot-proneness, and their predictions are compared with empirical data. The specific assumptions considered are: (a) all cities have an identical probability of experiencing a disorder; (b) communities are heterogeneous in their underlying riot-proneness; (c) a process of reinforcement characterizes the occurrence of disorders; and, (d) contagion among communities contributes to the distribution of racial disturbances. Only the heterogeneity assumption is supported by the data. The concluding sections consider the explanatory abilities of several additional theories, each of which argues the importance of particular community characteristics. All are rejected in favor of an explanation which locates disorders in the essential conditions of Negro life in America. (Author)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Economic Opportunity, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Wisconsin Univ., Madison. Inst. for Research on Poverty.
Note: A version of the paper presented at the Third Israel Operations Research Conference, Tel Aviv (Israel), July 3, 1969