Monday, June 23, 2008

Social Problems and the Rural-Urban Axis

Legal scholars may overlook the relevance of the rural-urban axis, but not criminologists and sociologists. In fact, I have discovered in recent months a terrific cache of empirical research on issues such as drug abuse and crimes against women. The principal investigator in many of the studies is Dr. TK Logan, a professor of Behavioral Studies at the University of Kentucky. She holds appointments in the departments of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Social Work and is associated with the Center on Drug and Alcohol Research.

Logan is a prolific researcher and writer, and I have found her empirical research indispensable to my latest article (forthcoming later this year in the Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender & Society) on the difference rurality makes to the incidence, reporting, investigation, and prosecution of domestic violence. She has done a great deal of work investigating rural and urban difference in relation to women's experiences of intimate abuse and stalking, as well as their perceptions of the justice system. She has also studied and compared rural and urban court officers and victim service advocates to explore differences in their attitudes about the efficacy of the civil and criminal justice systems, as well as in the advice they give to women who've experienced violence . It is very important work, and I am heartened to know that while rural women and the violence against them have been largely overlooked by the legal academy, they have received more attention from social scientists, social workers, and mental health professionals such as Logan and her colleagues.

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