Michael Sierra Arévalo

Michael Sierra Arévalo's picture
B.A. in sociology and psychology (high honors) from the University of Texas at Austin
Areas of Interest: 
Subfields: social control, criminology, ethnography, urban sociology, organizations

My current research employs ethnographic and interview methods to investigate the perceptions and practices of police officers in three U.S. cities. Using over 1000 hours of field observations and more than 100 interviews, I detail how officers are socialized into the danger imperative—a cultural frame that emphasizes violence and the need for officer safety. I explore how perception filtered through this frame leads officer to engage in behaviors that endanger them, their fellow officers, and the public, as well as reproduce inequalities in the criminal justice system. Additionally, I consider how new policing technology like TASERs and body-work cameras change how discretion and use-of-force are practiced in modern police work. My research on street gangs, social networks, firearms, and violence reduction has been published in Crime & DelinquencyCogent Social Science, two edited volumes, and a forthcoming article in Annual Review of Law and Social Science.