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James E. Hawdon

James Hawdon, Professor and Director, Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention

James Hawdon, Professor and Director, Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention
James Hawdon, Professor and Director, Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention

Department of Sociology
495 Old Turner Street
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-7476 |

James Hawdon is director of the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention and interim chair of the Department of Sociology at Virginia Tech.

Broadly speaking, Hawdon’s research investigates the role of communities in promoting, deterring, or reacting to crime and violence. His most recent work focuses on online communities and how these pattern exposure to and participation in online extremism.

He has published seven books or edited books and more than 100 articles, book chapters, or research reports in the areas of terrorism and violent extremism, criminology, the sociology of drugs, the sociology of policing, disaster research, and research methodologies. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Justice, the National Funding Collaboration on Violence Prevention, and several foundations. He has conducted dozens interviews for various local, national, and international media outlets, and his work has been cited in media outlets in countries from around the world.

Hawdon earned a BA from the Pennsylvania State University and a MA and PhD from the University of Virginia. From 1992 to 2004, he was a faculty member at Clemson University, where he served as graduate director from 1995 to 2004 and director of the Lab for Survey Research from 1993 to 1999. He joined Virginia Tech in 2004 and served as the director of graduate studies from 2005 until 2011, when he became director of the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention.

  • Causes and Consequences of Violence
  • Violent Extremism
  • Sociology of Drugs
  • Sociology of Policing
  • PhD in Sociology, University of Virginia, 1992
  • MA in Sociology, University of Virginia, 1988
  • BA in Sociology, Pennsylvania State University, 1985
  • Interim Chair, Department of Sociology
  • Director, Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention
  • Executive Board Member Southern Criminal Justice Association
  • Executive Counselor, Drugs and Alcohol Research Section Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.
  • Member Editorial Board, American Journal of Criminal Justice
  • Member of editorial board, Social Currents
  • Member Editorial Board, Traumatology
  • Excellence in Research Award, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences
  • E. Gordon Ericksen Award Winner of the Department of Sociology, Virginia Tech
  • Two-time Recipient of the Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award of the Department of Sociology, Virginia Tech
  • Adele Mellen Prize for Contributions to Scholarship for the book Drugs and Alcohol Consumption as a Function of Social Structure: A Cross-cultural Sociology.


Quigley, Paul and James Hawdon (editors). 2018. Reconciliation after Civil Wars: Global Perspectives. New York: Routledge.

Hawdon, James, John Ryan, and Marc Lucht (editors). 2014. The Causes and Consequences of Group Violence: From Bullies to Terrorists. Lanham, MD: Lexington Press.

Hawdon, James, Atte Oksanen, Pekka Räsänen, and John Ryan. 2012. School Shootings and Local Communities: An International Comparison between The United States and Finland. University of Turku Press: Turku, Finland.

Klieman, Mark, and James Hawdon (editors).  2011.  Encyclopedia of Drugs and Drug Policy, volumes I and II. Thousand Oaks, CA.: Sage.

Hawdon, James (editor). 2010.  The Sociology of Drug Use: A Sociological Reader.  Oceanside, NY: Whittier.

Hawdon, James. 2005.  Drugs and Alcohol Consumption as a Function of Social Structure:

A Cross-cultural Sociology.  Lewistown, N.Y.: Mellen Press. 

Hawdon, James. 1996. Emerging Organizational Forms: The Proliferation of Intergovernmental Organizations in the Modern World System.  Greenwood Publishing Group.

Journal Articles

Hawdon, James, Mathew Costello, Colin Bernatzky, and Rebecca-Barett Fox. Forthcoming.

“The Perpetuation of Online Hate: A Criminological Analysis of Factors Associated with Participating in an Online Attack.” Journal of Hate Studies

Hawdon, James, Mathew Costello, and Colin Bernatzky. Forthcoming. “Cyber-routines, Political Attitudes, and Exposure to Violence-Advocating Online Extremism.” Social Forces.

Costello, Mathew, James Hawdon, Colin Bernatzky, and Kelly Mendes. 2019. “Social Group Identity and Perceptions of Online Hate.” Sociological Inquiry, 427-452.

Sedgwick, Donna and James Hawdon. 2019. “Interagency Collaboration in the Era of

Homeland Policing: Are Agencies Answering the Call?” American Journal of Criminal Justice, 44: 167-190.

Costello, Mathew, Joseph Rukus, and James Hawdon. Forthcoming. 2019. “We Don’t Like Your Type around Here: Regional and Residential Differences in Exposure to Online Hate

Material Targeting Sexuality.” Deviant Behavior. 40(3): 385-401.

Torres, Jose, James Hawdon and Timothy Reling. 2018. “Role-Conflict and the Psychological Impacts of the Post-Ferguson Period on Law Enforcement Motivation,

Cynicism, and Apprehensiveness.” Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 33(4): 358-374.

Perdue, Robert, James Hawdon and Kelly Thames. 2018. “Can Big Data Predict the Rise of Novel Drug Abuse?” Journal of Drug Issues. 0022042618772294

Clifton, Stacey, Jose Torres, and James Hawdon. 2018. “Whatever Gets You through the Night: Officer Coping Strategies after the High-Profile Line of Duty Deaths in Dallas and

Baton Rouge.” The American Journal of Criminal Justice. 43(4): 871-885.

Costello, Mathew, Rebecca Barret-Fox, Colin Bernatzky, James Hawdon, and Kelly

Mendes. 2018. “Predictors of Viewing Online Extremism among America's Youth.” Youth & Society. 0044118X18768115.

Costello, Mathew and James Hawdon. 2018. Who are the online extremists among us?

Sociodemographic characteristics, social networking, and online experiences of those who produce online hate materials." Violence and Gender, 5(1): 55-60.

Keipi, Teo, Pekka Räsänen, Atte Oksanen, Matti Näsi, and James Hawdon.  2018. Exposure to Online Hate Material and Subjective Wellbeing: A Comparative Study of American and Finnish youth” Online Information Review, 42(1): 2 - 15.

Costello, Matthew, James Hawdon, and Thomas Ratliff. 2017. “Confronting Online Extremism: The Effect of Self-Help, Collective Efficacy, and Guardianship on Being a Target for Hate Speech.”  Social Science Computer Review. 35(5) 587-605.

Hawdon, James, Matthew Costello, Thomas Ratliff, Lori Hall, and Jessica Middleton. 2017.

“Conflict Management Styles and Cybervictimization: An Extension of Routine Activity Theory.” Sociological Spectrum, 37(4): 250-266.

Hawdon, James, Kristian Lum, Samarth Swarup, Jose A. Torres & Stephen Eubank. 2017.

“Addressing the Race Gap in Incarceration Rates: An Agent Based Model.” Corrections. 2(2): 71-90.

Costello, Matthew, James Hawdon, and Amanda Cross. 2017. “Virtually Standing Up or

Standing By? Correlates of Enacting Social Control Online.” International Journal of Criminology and Sociology 6:16-28.

Hawdon, James, Atte Oksanen, and Pekka Räsänen. 2017. “Exposure to Online Hate in Four Nations: A Cross-National Consideration.” Deviant Behavior. 38(3): 254-266

Keipi, Teo, Atte Oksanen, James Hawdon, Matti Näsi, and Pekka Räsänen. 2017. “Harm-

Advocating Online Content and Subjective Well-Being: A Cross-National Study of New Risks Faced by Youth.” Journal of Risk Research 20:634-649.

Torres, Jose, Jacob Apkarian, and James Hawdon. 2016. “Banishment in Public Housing:

Testing an Evolution of Broken Windows.” Social Sciences, 5, 61: doi:10.3390/socsci5040061

Costello, Matthew, James Hawdon, and Thomas Ratliff, and Tyler Grantham. 2016. “Who Views Online Extremism? Individual Attributes Leading to Exposure.” Computers in Human Behavior. 63: 311-320.

Räsänen, Pekka, Hawdon, James, Emma Holkeri, Matti Näsi, Teo Keipi, and Atte Oksanen. 2016. “Targets of Online Hate: Examining Determinants of Victimization among Young

Finnish Facebook Users.” Violence and Victims, 31(4): 708-726 DOI: 10.1891/0886-6708.VV-D-14-00079

Barlow, Angela and James Hawdon. 2016. “Sex, Drugs, and Deception: Deviance in the Hair Salon Industry.” Deviant Behavior 37:66-80 DOI: 10.1080/01639625.2014.983009

Book Chapters

Costello, Matthew and James Hawdon. Forthcoming. “Hate Speech in Online Spaces.”  In A. Bossler and T. Holt (eds.). The Palgrave Handbook of International Cybercrime and Cyberdeviance. New York: Palgrave.

Hawdon, James. 2019.  “Crises of Security and Crises of Legitimacy: Organizational Evolution in American Policing, 1860-2017.” Pp 40-70 in Lisa Eargle and Ashraf Esmail (editors.) On These Mean Streets…People Are Dying: Police & Citizen Brutality in America. Lake Charles, LA: Green Legacy Publishing.

Hawdon, James. 2018. “United We Heal, Divided We Reconcile: Group Solidarity and the Problem of Status after Civil Conflicts.” Pp. 251-264 in Paul Quigley and James Hawdon (editors). Reconciliation after Civil Wars: Global Perspectives. New York: Routledge.

Hawdon, James, Atte Oksanen, and Pekka Räsänen. 2017. “Depressed Mood, Sense of Community and Perceived Support after Mass Tragedies: A Study of Two Finnish Communities.” Pp. 9 – 28 in Lindblom, Taru & Ronkainen, Tuuli (eds) Consumers and Citizens in Contemporary Europe. Working Papers in Economic Sociology (VIII). University of Turku: Turku. [ISBN-978-951-29-6613-4; ISSN 1799-2370]

Hawdon, James and John Ryan.  2018. “What Criminals Do, at Least Theoretically: Agent Based Modeling as a Strategy for Critically Testing Criminological Theories” Pp. 57-85 in Joseph Michalski (Ed.) Sociological Theory in Scientific Perspective. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Oksanen, Atte, James E. Hawdon, and Pekka Räsänen. 2016. “Der schmale Grat zwischen Leid und Entertainment–Berichterstattung finnischer Massenmedien nach schweren Gewalttaten.” (The Fine Line between Tragedy and Entertainment Coverage: Finnish Mass Media Reporting on Serious Acts of Violence) Pp. 81-93 In Frank Robertz and Robert Kahr (eds.) Die mediale Inszenierung von Amok und Terrorismus. Springer: Fachmedien Wiesbaden.

Hawdon, James, Laura Agnich, Robert Wood, and John Ryan.  2016. “Framing Mass Gun Violence: A Content Analysis of Print Media Coverage of the Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook Elementary School Tragedies.” Pp. 214 – 232. In Lisa Eargle and Ashraf Esmail (Eds.) Gun Violence in American Society New York: University Press of America. 

  • Ranganathan, Shyam, Peter Hauck, Scotland Leman, and James Hawdon. 2018. ATD: Forecasting Threats due to Polarization Using Spatio-Temporal Topic Flows. Funded for $170,000 over three years by the National Science Foundation.
  • Reichelmann, Ashley, James Hawdon, and John Ryan. 2018. RAPID: Memorialization and Community. NSF-1822295. Funded for $49,909 over one year by the National Science Foundation.
  • Huang, Bert, Anthony Peguero, and James Hawdon. 2018. “Machine-learning approaches for automated detection of cyberviolence.” Funded for $25,000 for one year from the Data Analytics and Decision Science Destination Area.
  • Mitra, Tanushree and James Hawdon. 2018. The Language of Online Extremism and Hate Speech: Empirically investigating hate-groups’ narratives on social platforms. $3,000 Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology SEAD Mini-Grant Program.
  • Hawdon, James and John Ryan.  2017. “Online Extremism in a Cross-National Context: Risk, Exposure, and Participation.”  Funded for $29,654 for one year by the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment.  Virginia Tech. 
  • Ratliff, Thomas, James Hawdon, David Snow, Rebecca Barrett-Fox, and Matthew Costello. 2015-2017. “Radicalization on the Internet: Virtual Extremism in the U.S. from 2012 – 2017.” Funded for $769,906 over three years from The National Institute of Justice. 
  • Hawdon, James. 2017. "Status Relations and the Changing Face of Extremism in the United States Since 1960."  Les jeunes et l'incitation à la haine sur Internet: victimes, témoins, agresseurs? Comparaisons internationales.  Nice, France. January 23.
  • Hawdon, James. 2017. Perpetrators and Victims of Online Extremism: Status and Vulnerability." Presented at Les jeunes et l'incitation à la haine sur Internet: victimes, témoins, agresseurs? Comparaisons internationales. Nice, France. January 24.
  • Hawdon, James, Atte Oksanen and Pekka Räsänen. "Exposure to Online Hate Material: A Cross-National Test of Routine Activity Theory's Applicability in Cyberspace." Paper presented at the International Workshop on the Study of Hate Groups.  Fachhochschule der Polizei Brandenburg, Brandenburg, Germany. January 11, 2014.

Graduate Level

  • Workplace Crime and Deviance
  • Crime and Inequality
  • Crime, Community and Control

Undergraduate Level

  • Sociology of Policing
  • Sociology of Drugs and Alcohol
  • Criminology

Dr. Hawdon has chaired more than 100 MS/MA and PhD committees.  His recently and currently chaired students include:

Recent PhD Students Chaired

  • Dr. Lori Hall              
  • Dr. Kristin Richardson
  • Dr. Jose Torres

Current Ph.D. Students Chairing

  • Stacey Clifton
  • Whitney Hayes         
  • Leanna Ireland
  • Shonetra Walker         
  • Lisa Yoast       
  • Member of the Advisory Board for EU Horizon2020 Programme Network of Excellence in Training on HATE' (NETHATE).
  • Researcher on the project ‘Online Extremism in a Cross-National Context: Risk, Exposure, and Participation.” Funded by the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment
  • Researcher on the project “Hate Communities: A Cross-National Comparison.”  Funded by the Kone Foundation.
  • Researcher on the Cultural Capital, Consumption, and Social Networks among Older Adults: A Comparative Study of the United States and Finland.  Funded by Liikesivistysrahasto
  • Consultant to the Fachhochschule der Polizei Brandenburg, Brandenburg, Germany.
  • External Supervisor to Finnish National Graduate School on Social Inequalities.

Featured Books