skip to content

Institute of Criminology


'The long arm of the country of origin? Evaluating the cultural baggage hypothesis on inter-ethnic differences in youth violence'

In this Guest Lecture Clemens Kroneberg will give a talk on recent research into inter-ethnic differences in youth violence.

Heightened rates of violent offending among ethnic minorities are a highly controversial topic in many countries. An influential argument claims that certain minority groups are overrepresented among violent offenders because of the history and culture of violence in their countries of origin. In this article, we test this cultural baggage hypothesis based on data from a four-year longitudinal network study of more than 4000 adolescents from an ethnically diverse sample of schools in Germany. Following research on adolescent development and bullying, we apply stochastic actor-oriented network models to study the co-evolution of students’ friendship networks and their use of physical violence. Building on work on culture in economics (Fernández 2008, 2011), we simultaneously ask to what extent inter-ethnic differences in violence reflect cultural differences between countries of origin. To this end, we examine a wide range of country-of-origin characteristics, such as a country’s history of civil war (Miguel, Saiegh, and Satyanath 2008), prevalence of physical punishment by teachers or parents, or negative reciprocity (Cao, Enke, Falk, et al. 2021). Our findings suggest that peer processes such as social influence or homophily do not differ between minority and majority students and do not account for the heightened rate of violent offending among minority boys. Most importantly, none of the country-level indicators bears a relationship with violent offending. Our results contradict the cultural baggage hypothesis and have important implications for social science theories of violence.

Lecture flyer


Guest Lecturer:

Clemens Kroneberg is Professor of Sociology at the Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology at the University of Cologne. He is a member of the ECONtribute Center of Excellence (Universities of Bonn and Cologne), an external fellow of the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research, and an elected Fellow of the European Academy of Sociology. His research interests include diversity, crime and deviance, social networks, and social boundary-making. He directed the panel study "Friendship and Violence in Adolescence" (funded by the German Research Foundation) and the ERC Starting Grant project SOCIALBOND ("Social Integration and Boundary Making in Adolescence"). Among other outlets, his work has appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, Annual Review of Sociology, Annual Review of Criminology, Criminology, European Sociological Review, and Social Networks.

Professor Kroneberg's recent paper with Centre Founder Per-Olof Wikström (Wikström and Kroneberg 2022) provides a seminal overview of Analytic Criminology's unique approach and potential to contribute to knowledge about the causes of crime and its prevention through theory-driven empirical research.

Thursday, 6 July, 2023 - 11:00 to 12:30
Event location: 
Seminar Room B3, Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge