My areas of expertise include Criminology and Deviance, Human Trafficking and Global Crime, Race/Class/Gender Inequality, and Corporate and Environmental Deviance. My several lines of research examine the intersections of globalization, inequality, and crime.
Human Trafficking in a Global Economic Context: My dissertation bridges disciplinary explanations to create a unifying theoretical framework of human trafficking. This involves integrating theory from criminology, migration, and feminist literatures; specifically, institutional anomie theory, migration systems theory, and critical global feminism. This framework takes into consideration how global neoliberal economic policies and programs shape nations’ socioeconomic and sociocultural contexts. I specify configurations of conditions that shape human trafficking in three geographic locales: Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America. To do so, I use set-theoretic MMR (multi-method research), which combines fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis with the comparative historical method of process tracing. The results of my fsQCA analysis for pathways leading to high human trafficking confirm the role of the theoretical framework in illuminating the conditions which are associated with explaining the origin of human trafficking flows. Four pathways are identified, each showing unique combinations of conditions such as economic dominance, globalization, income inequality, gender inequality, corruption, and state fragility. That the solutions leading to high human trafficking were identical or similar to several of the seven pathways leading to high out migration confirms the link between migration and human trafficking. These results contribute to a previous literature that found that trafficking and migration routes tend to overlap, but empirically demonstrates why this might be. Through fsQCA I am able to demonstrate that the combinations of conditions that drive human trafficking origin flows are strongly similar to those that drive migration flows.
With process tracing, historical analysis of a chosen country from three different pathways was then able to tease out how these pathways, or unique combinations of conditions, emerged. Ultimately, my research demonstrates how policies put in place by international financial institutions in Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America contributed to combinations of anomic conditions that increased migration, and concurrently, human trafficking.
Corporate Crime and Constructions of Risk and Deviance: My other research examines the role that constructions of harm and deviance play in relation to corporate malfeasance. My first project examines the role of transnational corporations and labor violations in the fast fashion industry. It takes the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh as a case study to explore how media discourse constructed ideas about corporate deviance and global risk governance within the global supply chain. This paper has been published in Sociological Inquiry. The second project involves the public discovery of corporate water pollution in a southeastern town in order to understand how media coverage shapes local understanding of risk through the lens of green criminology and risk society. This paper has been published in Critical Criminology.
For a summary of my publications click here: Hupp Williamson Google Scholar Profile.