Crime in Their Midst: A Thematic Analysis of a Crime Committed in an Orthodox Jewish Community and Its Impact on Community Members

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 17:54
Oral Presentation
Guila BENCHIMOL, university of guelph, USA
Much is unknown about insular communities as they are often closed and guarded. This is especially so when it comes to crimes committed in their midst. Furthermore, a community’s interpretation of crime committed within may differ from that of the general public. Online forums geared to community members can reveal the discussions they have following a crime and the thoughts and feelings of the group. Using a functionalist approach, this study fills a gap in the literature on crimes committed in insular communities by and against community members by asking: what topics of discussion arose for Orthodox Jewish community members following a crime in their midst and were community members united or divided in their discussions? More explicitly, the sociological importance of what they discussed and how this affected community cohesion was examined. To address these questions, the comments following articles about a murder committed in an Orthodox Jewish community in New York on two Orthodox Jewish news websites (Yeshiva World News and Vos Iz Neias) were examined. The comments were posted in response to articles about the murder in the mainstream media that were posted on these two Jewish websites. Qualitative thematic analysis was used to examine how community members reacted to the murder through the discussions they had and whether these discussions affected and reflected community cohesion. Implications for better understanding crime in insular communities are discussed, as are directions for future research.