Do you have to be a criminal to study crime?

Date & Time

Wed, 04/07/2010



“Dorm Room Dealers” mobilizes six years of fieldwork to tell the story of fifty affluent, disproportionately white, college drug dealers. The criminality of many of our dealers was brazen and substantial, prompting ethical considerations on the part of the researcher: when if ever does a researcher report criminal activity of those he’s studying, especially if it’s precisely the crime that is the focus of the study? This forum explored this ethical question, and the ethics of research with criminals, in April’s panel.


* Erik Fritsvold, PhD.Department of Sociology, USD


* Stuart Henry, PhD. San Diego State University


Our Flickr page: Do you have to be a criminal to study crime?

KPBS These Days: “The Ethics Of Studying Crime”

You can view the video from this event here:



Erik Fritsvold
USD, Department of Sociology

Erik has been a full-time faculty member at USD in various capacities since 2005. Broadly construed, Erik’s areas of expertise include Criminology, Law & Society, the politics of law and crime management, social theory and research methods. Substantive and research foci include: the war on drugs, white-collar crime, social movements, eco-terrorism, the death penalty, social justice and the contentious process of attempting to balance social control and individual freedoms. Additionally, Erik serves as the faculty advisor to the USD Surf Team, AKD the Sociology Honor Society and the Sociology Club.

Erik earned a B.A. in Sociology here at the University of San Diego in 2000, an M.A. in 2004 and Ph.D. in June of 2006 from the Criminology, Law & Society Department at the University of California at Irvine.

Grounded in an interdisciplinary and proactive dedication to social problems, Erik teaches a host of classes in Sociology, Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies. Course offerings range from preceptorial courses for incoming freshman, to capstone courses in the CJLS concentration to research-intensive Independent Study courses for senior sociology majors. Specific courses include: Corrections, Drugs & Society, Independent Study, Introduction to Sociology, Law & Society, Social Deviance, Social Control and Sociology of Sports.