Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type

Access to Thesis Restricted to LSU Campus


The study of perceptions of criminality is significant in sociology due to its sociopolitical implications for our criminal justice system. Race, class, and gender disparities in this system influence prejudices in the American public, which in turn allows the perpetuation of inequality. Using an intersectional approach, this research seeks to interpret how race, class, and gender intersect to create and shape perceptions of criminality. Conducting an experiment on approximately 500 undergraduate students at a southern university during the Spring 2015 semester, subjects are shown a series of photographs and asked to select who, out of the individuals depicted, they believe to be criminals. Findings suggest that perceived class is a strong determinant of criminality, with race and gender effects as well. This study proposes that results are shaped by the workings of the criminal justice system, media portrayals of criminals, and the particular significance of our current social and political environment.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Student has submitted appropriate documentation to restrict access to LSU for 365 days after which the document will be released for worldwide access.

Committee Chair

Martin, Lori