Meghan Hollis

My research is largely focused in two areas: policing; and race/intersectionality, inequality, crime, and justice.  I seek to fill important gaps in the current criminological and sociological literature through my research efforts in these areas as well as to apply rigorous research methodologies to produce high-quality research.  My long-term research goals include further development of my policing scholarship through application of a dramaturgical perspective, and expanding on my race, ethnicity, intersectionality, inequality, crime, and justice research to understand the intersections of race/ethnicity/gender/identity with crime and justice (including studies of these intersections in policing).  I am focused on developing a scholarly career focused on publication of high-quality research findings in an effort to advance criminological and sociological theory, thought, and methodologies.

Much of my research has focused on social control and policing efforts.  My dissertation focused on the process through which police process events and the resulting crime or non-crime outcomes – in other words, organizational communication in police departments.  This research applies mixed methods (including ethnographic and quantitative data analysis techniques) to an examination of the various influences on policing outcomes during the definitional process.  As a part of this research I also have been examining neighborhood influences on social control – both informal and formal. Through this line of research, I seek to understand when citizens call the police and why.  I am trying to uncover the triggering mechanisms for initial police contact and better understand how police action is a reflection of societal requests for action.  My current work in this area includes a recently completed study on police organizational communication that I am converting to a book entitled Policing Through the Looking Glass.    

My policing and social control research is also focused on organizational dynamics – both within the police department as well as applying an organizational view to neighborhoods.  I am currently finishing data collection on a police organizational wellness study with the Austin Police Department.  I will be converting this to a series of articles initially, but I hope to write a book on organizational wellness challenges in policing in the future.    

I am also working on a theoretical monograph applying critical theories to policing.  Policing research has been largely atheoretical.  The major theoretical work in the field comes from policing studies of the 1960s and 1970s.  The only recent work to examine policing through a theoretical lens is the work of Peter K Manning on democratic policing.  I am working to fill this void in all three of the previously mentioned projects.  

I have been working on expanding my research to better understand the intersections of race, gender, ethnicity, and crime in recent years.  I conducted a community study to look at these dynamics in Detroit, Michigan in 2012-2013.  I am currently working on a series of publications based on that study.  I recently worked with Dr. Ramiro Martinez as co-editor on a special issue of Sociological Focus on Ethnography from the Margins.  This issue focused on the intersections of marginalization, power, and powerlessness in society.  I also recently co-edited The Handbook on Race, Ethnicity, Crime, and Justice with Dr. Ramiro Martinez and Dr. Jacob Stowell.  This volume provided readers with the current state of the field with respect to race and ethnicity studies.  I am currently working on two papers examining disproportionate minority contact as it relates to pretrial release practices and patterns and sentencing patterns.  I am also working on research on the intersections of race, ethnicity, and gender in police employment with a focus on barriers to employing non-White and/or female officers in policing. 

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