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26 J. Res. Crime & Delinquency 3 (1989)

handle is hein.journals/jrcd26 and id is 1 raw text is: 


                              EDITOR'S COMMENTS



  The  first two articles in this edition of the Journal of Research in
Crime  and Delinquency  are in sharp contrast to those most  often
published here. Neither depends on the type of statistical analysis that
most  often characterizes articles appearing in the journal. It is a
deviation that we  hope  will occur more  often. We  welcome  the
opportunity to publish studies that employ techniques, such as these
qualitative approaches, that are appropriate to the questions that given
writers seek to address.
   The first of these articles by Lynch et al., involves a cross-cultural
study focused on the tragic events in 1984 at Bhopal, India, where a
chemical gas leak resulted in 2,500 deaths and tens of thousands of
injuries. This research examines how that tragedy was perceived among
various groups in India, in the United States, and between the two
nations. Its underlying aim was to learn more about how an event that
may  be described as a crime can be measured.
   For a number of years, a widely used device for scaling perception of
crimes' seriousness across cultures, as well as within cultures, was a
simple rating scale that expressed the relative seriousness of a given
crime as compared to others (e.g., rape vs. murder vs. theft). Critics have
argued that such scales oversimplify cultural perceptions and do not
measure the variety of behavior that might be called criminal in various
societies. Imposed surface uniformities hid important differences was
the assertion.
   To engage these issues, Lynch and his colleagues employ a method of
content analysis of various newspapers and journals in India and the
United States to discover the extent to which accounts conflict or agree
in their interpretation of events at Bhopal in each of the countries, as
well as across the two cultures. The authors argue that the results of the
research have implications for criminology in general and  specific
implications for those who would seek to measure crime seriousness
across cultures.
   What  is most interesting about the article, beyond the substantive
issues raised, is the innovative way in which the methodology was
employed. It is a fine example of the creative imagination that is needed
to address issues for which the more conventional statistical analyses are
difficult to employ effectively.

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from the SAGE Social Science Collections. All Rights Reserved.

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