Crime & Justice Policy

Summer Scholar Tschantret to Examine Honor and Homicide

Photo of Tschantret

Joshua Tschantret, a PhD student in the UI Department of Political Science (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences), will work on his project, "Honor and Homicide: A Computational Approach" as a summer scholar-in-residence with the Public Policy Center.

A prominent theory in the sociological and psychological study of crime is that cultures of honor have higher homicide rates. According to this theory, individuals in cultures of honor are likelier to respond to perceived insult with retaliatory violence to uphold a reputation for toughness. While existing evidence lends support to this theory, ‘cultures of honor’ are currently measured with overly simplistic variables such as binary indicators for Southern states. In this study, Tschantret will investigate the relationship between cultures of honor and homicide rates using novel methodologies. Using data from Google search queries, he creates a new state-level measure of ‘honor cultures’ based on the frequency with which Google searches in a given state contain words that are semantically and conceptually related to concerns with honor and reputation. He will then reexamine the culture of honor theory by investigating whether the new measures of honor predict variation in homicides within and across states. 

His goal is to disseminate his study a journal article and present a lunch and learn. To read his full proposal, click here.