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Department of Sociology at Lehman College

Elin Waring

Elin WaringMy research has a number of separate themes, unified by a focus on the issue of the relationship of aspects of social organization to the broad category of behaviors that incorporate those labelled unconventional, deviant or criminal.

I have written three books, Crimes of the Middle Classes (with David Weisburd, Stanton Wheeler and Nancy Body), White Collar Crime and Criminal Careers (with David Weisburd and Ellen Chayet) and Russian Mafia in America: Crime, Immigration and Culture (with James Finckenauer), which went into a third edition in 2018, and edited Crime and Social Organization (with David Weisburd). All of these, along with related articles and chapters focus on what are often considered to be complex crimes committed by offenders with background not normally associated with crime. Related work focuses on issues of co-offending as an example of a large class of questions about informal and formal organization and how people organize themselves to do things.

Another strand of work focuses on evaluation of a variety of criminal justice interventions designed to reduce crime, including Operation Ceasefire (the Boston Gun Project) and a series experiments in Jersey City, New Jersey.

A third strand focuses on the impact of mass incarceration on neighborhood level crime, identifying a curvilinear relationship between the level of incarceration in a place and the level of crime and conceptualizing this unintended criminogenic consequence of incarceration as a consequence of destruction of social capital and concentrated disadvantage in a small number of very high incarceration neighborhoods.
A fourth strand, my current work, focuses on the development and impact of the concept of “white collar crime” in the context of the history of American sociology. This work is both historical and involves quantitative analysis of textual materials such newspapers and scholarly journals.

My body of work is connected by a fundamental interest in the consequences of the embeddedness of individual actions in networks, organizations and places. These models are chosen to address issues of the non-independence of units, whether in time, space or social relationships. I use a range of analytical strategies that incorporate these concerns including social network analysis, variance component models, and multilevel time series.

At Lehman my primary commitment has been to teaching research methods and data analysis and to work on developing a comprehensive and well-designed sociology curriculum. I also coordinate the interdisciplinary minor in Data Science Methods and Applications. 

My office is room 128 in the Speech and Theatre building, and the easiest way to get in touch with me is via email, at

  • CV (PDF)