University of Pennsylvania’s Elijah Anderson Wins the 2021 Stockholm Prize in Criminology

Elijah Anderson, the Sterling Professor of Sociology and of African American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, has been awarded the 2021 Stockholm Prize in Criminology for his groundbreaking urban ethnographies documenting violence and life in inner-city African American communities.

The Stockholm Prize in Criminology is an international prize established under the aegis of the Swedish Ministry of Justice and with major contributions from the Torsten Söderberg Foundation. First awarded in 2006, the prize recognizes outstanding achievements in criminological research or the application of research results to reduce crime and advance human rights.

In announcing the annual award, the Stockholm Prize in Criminology Foundation said that Professor Anderson’s scholarship “has considerably improved our understanding of the dynamics of interactions among young men and women that lead to violence, even among good friends. His years of immersion in street life in Chicago and Philadelphia provide a social microscope for observing and understanding the consequences of prejudice and blocked opportunities through the eyes of people growing up in those areas.”

As a doctoral student in the 1970s, Professor Anderson began studying street corner life at a local bar/liquor store located on Chicago’s South Side for his dissertation. He visited the same location nightly for nearly three years to gain a deeper understanding of the group of men he met there. This qualitative fieldwork provided the basis for his widely acclaimed first book, A Place on the Corner: A Study of Black Street Corner Men (University of Chicago Press, 1981) which vividly depicts how the men he observed maintained their social status in the eyes of the others, revealing a complex social order regulated in part by violence.

Professor Anderson’s fourth book, Black in White Space: The Enduring Impact of Color in Everyday Life (University of Chicago Press) will be published early next year.

Dr. Anderson holds a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, a master’s degree from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in sociology from Northwestern University.


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