Class and crime in war-time: Lessons of the American Vietnam war resistance in Canada

John L Hagan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Class circumstances follow from as well as causally precede crime, and the relationship between class and crime is highly contingent. This tangled web of causation makes it challenging to meaningfully study links between class and crime. I propose that this tangled causal web can be better understood if we direct more research to distinctive class settings in which particular kinds of crime occur. This implies directing more research attention to nonrepresentative samples that derive from nonrepresentative settings, with the goal of increasing our leverage over theoretically contingent, class-connected contextual variables. This unconventional research agenda is illustrated through an analysis of the lives of Americans who resisted the draft and military service in Vietnam by "dodging" and "deserting" military service and migrating to Canada, a new setting where these selective service and military "criminals" were transformed by their adopted nation's immigration policy into "New Canadians" and unexpected symbols of Canadian sovereignty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-162
Number of pages26
JournalCrime, Law and Social Change
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Law

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