Date of Award

Fall 2021

Degree Type

Honors Project


College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Dr Ryan LeCount


Evelyn Alphonse and Dr. Ryan LeCount, Department of Sociology, Hamline University 1536 Hewitt Ave, St Paul, MN, 55104

Previous research has made it clear that neighborhoods shape individuals’ experiences, perceptions, and identities. Past studies on neighborhood stigma focused primarily on the perception that communities of color and their residents are dangerous or disadvantaged. Another smaller body of work explored how living in criminalized spaces affects residents themselves. This research primarily looked at how neighborhood stigma has materially affected residents, such as through decreased job opportunities. The present study expanded on the previous literature by investigating how living in stigmatized spaces impacted residents' identities. This study asked how living in a criminally stigmatized neighborhood has affected African Americans’ experiences, perspectives, and values. The research methodology used to answer this question consisted primarily of in-person, semi-structured, qualitative interviews with African Americans over 18. Research participants were members of criminally stigmatized neighborhoods who were recruited through local community organizations and the use of snowball sampling. The results of this study were obtained through careful coding and analysis of the interview transcripts. This study found that residents' identities were influenced by the conditions and local ideologies within their neighborhood, as well as the stigmas surrounding it. However, residents were able to craft alternative narratives to disrupt the messages they receive and change the conditions around them. These findings suggest that residents’ identities were formed through an ongoing negotiation process within the context of structural constraints and individual decision-making.








Departmental Honors Projects