Lessons and current Challenges for Urban Sociologists. A Conversation with Robert J. Sampson


  • Niccolò Morelli EngagemindsHub, Catholic University of Milan (Italy); Department of Management, Polytechnic University of Milan (Italy) http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8916-8640
  • Robert J. Sampson Harvard University (USA) http://orcid.org/0000-0003-4259-8146




Sampson, neighborhood effects, urban sociology, social structure of the city


In this interview, Robert J. Sampson discusses main lessons and current challenges for urban sociologists, starting from his personal experience and perspective. The interview recaps his important works on factors and events that can determine criminal behavior, the important Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, that he led with his innovative theories and empirical results on violence, race and ethnic segregation, inequality, order and disorder in urban environments, and the shifting structure of community network. The interview also reflects on the process and encounters that led him to the formulation of a theory of race, crime and urban inequality with William J. Wilson (1995). Our discussion spanned over areas of research interests of Professor Sampson, including crime, disorder, life course, civic engagement, inequality, "ecometrics," and the social structure of the city, with particular attention to neighborhood effects. Finally, the interview deals with current challenges for urban sociologists, focusing on two main problems: poor quality of data and limit of funding.


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How to Cite

Morelli, N., & Sampson, R. J. (2020). Lessons and current Challenges for Urban Sociologists. A Conversation with Robert J. Sampson. Sociologica, 14(1), 249–261. https://doi.org/10.6092/issn.1971-8853/10517