Steven Messner

Distinguished Teaching Professor

Expertise: Crime and Deviance

Contact Info:

  • Office: 302 Arts & Sciences Building
  • Phone: (518) 442-4674
  • Mailing Address:
  • 1400 Washington Ave.
    Arts & Sciences 351
    University at Albany
    Albany, NY 12222

CV: Curriculum Vitae


  • 1978 Ph.D., Princeton University
  • 1976 M.A., Princeton University
  • 1973 B.A., Columbia University

Recent Research Projects

  • Theorizing Social Institutions and Crime – This research focuses on developing an institutional perspective for understanding the causes of crime. It elaborates and expands arguments originally proposed as part of "intuitional-anomie theory" (IAT). In addition to research at the macro-level, IAT has guided multilevel analyses with the incorporation of the social psychological concept of a “marketized mentality.”
  • Crime and Social Control in Contemporary China – These research initiatives adapt and modify theories and analytic frameworks developed in the West to the distinctive socio-cultural setting of contemporary China. Specific topics include the relationships between various dimensions of social integration and violence, and the role of residents' committees in controlling disorder in urban neighborhoods.
  • Community Context and Criminal Offending – This research considers the importance of considering "persons in context" for understanding criminal offending. Specific topics include the ways in which neighborhood disadvantage conditions the effects of socio-demographic characteristics on participation in violence.
  • Spatial Analyses of Crime – This research uses the techniques of Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis (ESDA) and spatial regression modeling to analyze crime rates across varying territorial units. Some of these analyses focus on victimizations from hate crimes.

Research Interests

  • Criminology
  • Deviance
  • Macrosociology

Courses Taught

  • SOC 220: Introduction to Social Research
  • SOC 481: Quantitative Research on Crime
  • SOC 601: Social Deviance
  • SOC 666: Macrosociological Perspectives on Crime and Delinquency


  • Chair, International Academic Advisory Board of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany