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SCJ Dean Chairs AAAS Panel on Policies to Combat Societal Violence

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 11, 2016) — William Alex Pridemore, dean of the School of Criminal Justice, organized and will chair a panel on “Interpersonal Violence and Conflict Escalation” at the six-day annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) — the premier general scientific professional association in the U.S.

UAlbany SCJ dean Pridemore

UAlbany SCJ Dean William Alex Pridemore 

The conference, which begins today, will feature the theme: Global Scientific Engagement — how the scientific enterprise can address global challenges through innovation and international collaboration. Pridemore’s panel, which convenes on Saturday at 3 p.m., will be among the few at the conference devoted to a topic in the social sciences. A key reason for its selection was that the critical nature of violence and conflict escalation demands engagement between scientists, policymakers, and the broader community.

“The results from these studies have direct implications for policy and violence prevention, including interventions that teach strategies of nonviolent conflict management and that disrupt processes that enable violence to become a resource for decision-making,” said Pridemore, who has served as the American Society of Criminology’s Liaison to AAAS for the past seven years.

The three presenters assembled by the dean are:

  • Andrew Papachristos, Yale University — Unraveling Gun Violence Epidemics Using Network Science. Papachristos uses network science, gunshot victimization, and arrest data to study diffusion of gun violence within high-risk populations. He finds the odds of being a gunshot victim increase sharply with exposure to other gunshot victims and that 70 percent of those victims are part of co-offending networks comprising less than six percent of the population.
  • Rod Brunson, Rutgers University — The Role of Black Clergy in Deescalating Conflict and Reducing Interpersonal Violence. Brunson interviewed ministers to document the motivations for and mechanisms through which they became involved in efforts to reduce street violence and how they develop strategic coalitions and manage violence reduction initiatives. Findings suggest black churches can help mobilize a coordinated effort to address urban youth violence.
  • Mark Berg, University of Iowa — Rethinking the Situational Context of Aggressive Exchange. Berg uses data from inmates and from non-incarcerated controls to examine how personal traits and situational dynamics interact to affect violence and conflict escalation. His work suggests that aggressive people do not abide by norms of social interaction and that the nature and social settings of their conflicts are distinctive.

Interdisciplinary and inclusive, the annual meeting of AAAS attracts thousands of leading scientists, engineers, educators, policymakers, and journalists. Overall, AAAS represents 126,995 individual and institutional members and is the publisher of the well-known scientific journal Science.

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