Book Review: Redefining rape: Sexual violence in the era of suffrage and segregation

AuthorLaura L. King
Published date01 December 2019
Date01 December 2019
Subject MatterBook Reviews
CJR610628 537..544 540
Criminal Justice Review 44(4)
Despite (or perhaps due to) these strengths, I would have liked to have seen more analysis of some
topics. For example, he writes very little about the experiences of young Latina women, even though
Rios and his research assistants interviewed and conducted focus groups with several. A deeper dis-
cussion of their experiences might have added considerably—particularly to the chapter on mascu-
linity—and enhanced the appeal of Human Targets to an even broader audience. I would also have
liked to have learned more about police officers’ perspectives, since their views need to be taken into
consideration if we wish to improve policing practices. Rios does begin such an analysis, and he
describes the ways that officers mean well but misrecognize Latino/a young people and default to
punitive control in their interactions. But it isn’t very clear why this occurs and how we could pre-
vent it. I found myself wondering whether the default to punitive control is due in part to officers’
formal training or to their on-the-job socialization or whether it might be a selection bias, whereby
those who already hold punitive views may be attracted to a career in law enforcement. I also found
myself curious about what these officers’ supervising officers say or do to try to either counter or
reinforce the punitive control Rios describes.
In sum, this is a balanced, wonderful piece of scholarship. It makes an important contribution to
sociological debates, is an excellent example of reflexive ethnography, shows respect and provides
dignity to the research subjects, and provides a publicly accessible text on the conditions facing low-
income Latino/a young people. It is an excellent example of how one can work within but not for the
academy. Aspiring graduate students who wish to produce academically respected scholarship that
is meaningful and has an opportunity to engage the broader public, here is your model.
Harding, David J. (2010). Living the Drama: Community, conflict and culture among inner-city boys. Chicago,
IL: University of Chicago Press.
Matza, David...

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