REBECCA HANSON Assistant Professor of Sociology, Criminology, and Latin American Studies
Welcome to my site! I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Florida, with a joint appointment in the Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law and the Center for Latin American Studies. Here you can find out about my research, teaching, and publications.
Below are a few of my most recent publications
Click on the Publications tab to jump to my books, articles, and contributions to public sociology
For a complete list, see my CV
Check out the New Books Network Podcast episode on Harassed here and our book talk at University of Florida!
Harassed: Gender, Bodies and Research, University of California Press, 2019
"A groundbreaking contribution and a long overdue publication about the deafening sexual silence surrounding the fieldwork experiences of many women scholars conducting qualitative research in sociology."—Gloria Gonzalez-Lopez, The University of Texas at Austin
"Identifying how academic standards themselves—and ethnographic standards specifically—make sociologists vulnerable to gender and sexualized violence is an important and timely contribution to the field. The book is clearly written, organized, and presented. It should be required reading for any class on ethnography or in-depth interviewing, for any researcher conducting ethnography or interviews, and for any faculty member who is advising students conducting such work. Armed with this book, researchers will not only be better able to protect themselves but they will also gain a model for how to learn and teach from their own embodied experiences in the field."—Abigail C. Saguy, University of California, Los Angeles
The Paradox of Violence in Venezuela: Revolution, Crime, and Policing During Chavismo, 2022
"This book defies basic assumptions about crime: while Venezuela under Chavez reduced poverty and inequality and promoted economic growth, criminality skyrocketed to unprecedented levels. This collection of brilliant studies written by frontline scholars provides responses to this riddle from various perspectives and methods, and subtly unfolds the many ways criminal violence explodes. This is a seminal work for social studies that transcends Venezuela. It provides lessons for understanding the multifaceted challenges Latin American nations must face to address public safety and social cohesion."—Marcelo Bergman, National University of Tres de Febrero
"Besides enriching our understanding of the relationship among organized criminal groups, the Venezuelan state, and armed violence, this timely volume promises critical comparative leverage for understanding these relationships throughout the region. To take a headline example, Venezuela eclipsed Brazil in police killings of civilians in 2016, yet criminal organizations seem to have grown more organized over time. Hardline but ultimately counterproductive repression can, it would seem, appeal to many different sorts of regimes. This is both an impeccable country case study and a thoughtfully framed set of interventions designed to advance larger cross-regional and disciplinary research agendas."—Benjamin Lessing, University of Chicago
RECENT PEER REVIEWED ARTICLES
Graeme Blair, et al. 2021. "Community policing does not build citizen trust in police or reduce crime in the Global South". Science 374: 1-14
Community policing has been implemented around the world on every continent. However, although there is evidence for its positive effects in rich countries, there is no systematic evidence about whether community policing effectively generates trust and reduces crime in the Global South. Working in partnership with local police agencies, we conducted six coordinated field experiments in Brazil, Colombia, Liberia, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Uganda to test the outcomes of community policing. Our interventions reached approximately 9 million people in 516 treated areas. We find that Increases in locally appropriate community policing practices led to no improvements in citizen-police trust, no greater citizen cooperation with the police, and no reduction in crime in any of the six sites.
Verónica Zubillaga, Rebecca Hanson, and Francisco Sánchez. 2022. “Gobernanzas criminales en Caracas”. Dilemas: Revista de Estudos de Conflito e Controle Social. Special issue “Governança Criminal na América Latina em Perspectiva comparada”, edited by Luana Dias Motta and Benjamin Lessing. 4: 529-558
Este artículo compara la configuración de dos órdenes territoriales armados y las formas de gobernanzas locales en contextos autoritarios neopatrimoniales en Caracas que padecen lo que ha sido denominado como “crisis humanitaria compleja”. Dialogamos con los conceptos de gobernanza colaborativa y gobernanza criminal para entender cómo funciona el control social localmente en un contexto autoritario donde una crisis política, económica, y humanitaria ha restringido los recursos y el alcance del gobierno. El caso venezolano revela con especial interés los procesos de mutación en las relaciones entre actores armados y un Estado fragmentado para funciones de control social en sus territorios en un contexto de legitimidad disputada.
Rebecca Hanson and Patricia Richards. 2021. "Acosadas en terreno: El género, la raza, la nación y la construcción del conocimiento etnográfico". Polis, Revista Latinoamericana Vol 59
El acoso sexual y la sexualización son experiencias comunes para las mujeres investigadoras cuando llevan a cabo trabajo de campo. Sin embargo, estos temas rara vez se mencionan en los libros y clases de métodos. Este artículo se basa en entrevistas con investigadoras/es cualitativas/os (47 mujeres y nueve hombres) en la academia norteamericana y critica el silencio que rodea al acoso sexual en terreno. Sostenemos que este silencio es un indicador de un problema mayor: las/los investigadoras/es eliminan experiencias corporizadas de su investigación cualitativa. El silencio disciplinario que rodea el acoso sexual tiene un costo tanto para las/los investigadoras/es individuales como para la construcción del conocimiento etnográfico. Sostenemos que las/los investigadoras/es cualitativas/os deben hacer una reflexión crítica sobre cómo el trabajo de campo y la recolección de datos están moldeados por el género, la raza, la sexualidad y la nacionalidad, y hacemos un llamado por la inclusión de las experiencias corporales, reconociendo las maneras en que estas son mutuamente constitutivas en la producción de conocimientos.
Rebecca Hanson and Verónica Zubillaga. 2021. "From carceral punitivism to systematic killing: The necropolitics of policing in post-Chávez Venezuela". Violence: An International Journal 2(1): 65-84
Since 2017, state security forces in Venezuela have been responsible for over 20% of violent deaths in the country. This represents an unprecedented period of state repression in the country’s history that demands examination. In this article, we argue that in order to understand the recent increase in violent deaths in Venezuela during the post-Chávez period, we must place at the center of our analysis the discourses and practices of an extremely privileged actor, the state, in the context of the collapse of oil prices. We propose that this upsurge of lethal violence can be understood within the historical process of militarization of citizen security. In the first phase, starting in 2009, we see an increase in carceral punitivism—the hyperreaction of the penal state. In the second, a new stage in militarized raids is launched which, over the years, gave way to a practice of systematic extralegal killings that became the fundamental strategy of social control. These raids represent a necropolitical approach to governance in a context of extreme economic and political crisis.
Verónica Zubillaga and Rebecca Hanson. 2021. “Shoutings, Scoldings, Talkings, and Whispers: Mother's Responses to Armed Actors and Militarization in Two Caracas Barrios”. Working Paper, Kellogg Institute for International Studies.
How do mothers deal with chronic violence and the constant presence of guns in their neighborhoods? How do they relate to the armed actors who inhabit their neighborhoods? How do they build situated meaning and discursive practices out of their experiences and relationships with armed actors? We compare the experience of women in two poor and working-class neighborhoods in Caracas. La Caracola, with a long history of civic organizations and drug trafficking, suffers regular, extortionate actions by the police. La Piedad has been ravaged by militarized police operations, which have produced a "warfare mode" among the members of organized criminal groups. Through this comparative ethnographic project we aim to show how, in the midst of state-sponsored depredation and with an overwhelming presence of guns in their lives, women use their traditional cultural roles as mothers to perform everyday forms of resistance vis-à-vis the different armed actors that impose their presence in the barrios. We focus on how women make and communicate meanings; engage in social networks with other women; and employ different discursive strategies as they deal with the armed actors. We foreground women’s experiences in two barrios, asking what material and historical conditions make these different experiences possible. In the mothers’ daily struggles, dramatic discursive actions—from more openly oppositional, such as shouting, scolding, and talking, to more hidden ones, such as, both “circulating gossip” and “captive gossip” to more helpless ones, such as whispering—are their main resources in the micropolitics of their neighborhoods.
PUBLIC SOCIOLOGY & INTERVIEWS
Rebecca Hanson and Verónica Zubillaga. 2022. “Shifting dynamics of violence: The revolution’s most powerful legacy?” NACLA 54(1): 96-100. Available in Spanish
“Bouncy Castles and Grenades: Gangs Erode Maduro’s Grip on Caracas”. 2021. The New York Times, article by Isayen Herrera and Anatoly Kurmanaev, May 30
Rebecca Hanson. 2021. “Popularity contests deepen Venezuela’s deadly stalemate”. NACLA 53(1):15-18
Rebecca Hanson and Patricia Richards. 2020. “What does sexual harassment tell us about the construction of ethnographic knowledge?” ASA Footnotes 47(5):4-6
Rebecca Hanson and Patricia Richards. 2020. “La etnografía corporizada en tiempos de pandemia: ¿A dónde vamos desde aquí?” LASA Forum 52(1): 24-28
“Fact-checking Matt Gaetz on gun bans in Australia and Venezuela”. 2019. POLITIFACT, article by Amy Sherman, August 10
“Understanding the Venezuelan Crisis”. 2019. Understanding Latin American Politics Podcast, UNC-Charlotte, interviewed by Greg Weeks. Episode 62, February 1
Rebecca Hanson and Francisco Sánchez. 2019. "The Stalemate in Venezuela." NACLA, September 12.
“Two Men claim to be the president of Venezuela”. 2019. Knowledge @Wharton, University of Pennsylvania. January 25
Rebecca Hanson and Francisco Sánchez. 2019. “Venezuela’s Popular Sectors and the Future of a Country” NACLA, February 13. Available in Spanish
Tim Gill and Rebecca Hanson. 2019. “How Washington Funded the Counterrevolution in Venezuela” The Nation, February 8.
Rebecca Hanson and Tim Gill. 2019. “Venezuela at Another Crossroads” NACLA, January 24.
Rebecca Hanson. 2018. "Deciphering Venezuela’s Emigration Wave" NACLA 50 (4): 356-359.
Rebecca Hanson. 2018. “Four Charts Show Venezuela’s Worsening Migrant Crisis” The Conversation, September 6.
Rebecca Hanson and Leonard Gómez Núñez. 2018. “Behind the Scenes of Venezuela’s Deadly Prison Fire” The Conversation, April 4.
Rebecca Hanson. 2017. “Protecting the Right to Life in Venezuela” NACLA 49(3): 309-314.