The Value of Understanding the Absence of Social Problems in Cross-national Research

An Example from Criminology

Janet P. Stamatel

By reorienting our research questions, explanatory frameworks, and analytical methods to also understand the low end of the incidence continuum, comparative sociologists can advance theoretical and methodological insights on social problems. The essay discusses the general value of researching low rate places and provides two examples from cross-national criminology to illustrate the benefits of this type of research. It also considers the methodological challenges of such an approach, but concludes that the effort is beneficial towards advancing knowledge on global social problems.

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