OTTO, N. 2020. ‘I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO’: LOYALTY AND SACRIFICE IN GIRLS’ NARRATIVES OF HOMICIDE IN SOUTHERN BRAZIL. THE BRITISH JOURNAL OF CRIMINOLOGY, DOI: HTTPS://DOI.ORG/10.1093/BJC/AZZ079.
This paper examines how criminalized teenage girls who have committed homicide reconcile violent practices with self-conceptions of femininity in their personal narratives. Data come from 13 biographical interviews with adolescent girls incarcerated in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Drawing from Bourdieusian theory and narrative criminology, I examine how gendered social structures shape how girls produce intelligible and morally coherent accounts of their crimes. I found that girls share a narrative habitus that allows for three different frames to make sense of violence: violence as a gendered resource, as a gendered failure and as a gendered dilemma. This paper contributes to a growing feminist narrative criminology that investigates how personal narratives of violence are embedded in gendered social structures.
KRUTTSCHNITT, C. & OTTO, N. 2020. WOMEN’S EXPERIENCES IN THE REVOLVING DOOR OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM: IMPLICATIONS FOR THEIR IMAGINED FUTURES. WOMEN & CRIMINAL JUSTICE. DOI: 10.1080/08974454.2019.1664970.
Despite the notable expansion in research on mass incarceration and reentry, we know relatively little about how women who have spent a good portion of their lives enmeshed in the criminal justice system view these experiences and how these experiences might shape their imagined future lives. We address this gap by examining the narratives of 16 black and 35 white persistent offenders imprisoned in Pennsylvania. Our findings suggest that black women report more negative criminal justice experiences than white women and that, regardless of the nature of these encounters, white women tend to have more optimist outlooks for their futures. This suggests that the racialization of structural advantages and disadvantages may compound the women’s salient criminal justice encounters. The implication of these findings for procedural justice, reentry and desistance research are discussed.
OTTO, N., JOHNSTON, J. & BAUMANN, S. 2021. MORAL ENTREPRENEURIALISM FOR THE HAMBURGER: STRATEGIES FOR MARKETING A CONTESTED FAST FOOD. CULTURAL SOCIOLOGY. DOI: 10.1177/17499755211039932
Recent research has extended the concept of moral entrepreneurialism to corporate actors. We build on this research to investigate how corporations succeed in this effort by uncovering the strategies and tools they employ as moral entrepreneurs. To do so, we examine the corporate discourse of three prominent fast-food firms to identify how they present hamburgers as good food, in a context where beef is increasingly criticized as morally suspect. Based on a discourse analysis of corporate communications and marketing campaigns, we identify three distinct discursive strategies for managing meat criticisms: (1) global managerialism (McDonald’s); (2) aestheticized simplicity (A&W); and (3) nostalgic, personalized appeals (Wendy’s). These strategies are realized through the use of informational tools to shape what customers think and know about beef, and affective tools to influence how customers feel about beef. Together, these corporate strategies speak to the skilful ability of corporate actors to respond to socio-environmental criticisms. Our case shows how fast-food market actors are able to incorporate critique and offer messages that seek to allow people to feel good about eating beef. This case is relevant to understanding the tools that corporations use to be effective moral entrepreneurs. It also provides a deeper understanding of marketing discourse at the nexus of social problems and consumption choices.
MANUSCRIPTS UNDER REVIEW
under review at Social Problems
OTTO, N., PAMPLONA, R., SCHWARTZMAN, L. GENDERED VIOLENCE AND THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF THE PUBLIC/PRIVATE BOUNDARY IN SOUTHERN BRAZIL
Despite its ubiquitous presence in everyday life, the sociology of violence remains a heavily fragmented field of study. While feminist studies have been critical of the ideological divide between public and private space, a separation between ‘gendered’ and ‘non-gendered’ violence remains in both academic and public debates. But how are narratives of violence gendered? Drawing on interview and textual sources from the South of Brazil, this study analyzes narratives constructed by actors whose meaning-making is central to the governance and production of violence: police officers who investigate homicides and young women who work in violent drug markets. We demonstrate how the public/private divide operates as a gendered symbolic structure that outlines the rules, meanings, and expectations about violence in different social spaces. In both accounts analyzed, a common narrative about place, violence, and gender is reproduced: the street, the public sphere, as the space of genderless, market-related, and rational violence; and the home, the private sphere, as the place of gendered, emotional violence. Our findings contribute to feminist studies on the social construction of public and private boundaries by showing how gendered symbolic system engender spaces and situations.
FOGLESONG, T., WILMOT, C., LEVI, R., HAAG, J., OTTO, N. 2019. EXPERIENCES AND PERCEPTIONS OF THE POLICE IN BALTIMORE: A REPORT FOR THE MONITOR BASED ON INTERVIEWS WITH ARRESTED DETAINEES. MUNK SCHOOL OF GLOBAL AFFAIRS, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO, CANADA.
The Consent Decree requires the city of Baltimore to conduct an annual “survey of detained arrestees.” People who have been arrested are rarely the source of insight about the character of policing in the United States, and yet many of them have a great range of experience with law enforcement and criminal justice —as victims, suspects, defendants, witnesses, observers, and callers for service. This report uses interviews with custodial arrestees in the Baltimore City Detention Center shortly after their arrest to understand residents’ experiences and perceptions of the police and their ideas about how to improve policing. The report finds that most detainees we interviewed judge policing on the basis of their experiences before arrest than during it. It also finds that much of their dismay about policing in Baltimore today stems from a sense that the police “don’t care” about their community, despite the persistence of social problems they believe the police can help fix.