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Carl S. Taylor - Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI, US

Carl S. Taylor Carl S. Taylor

Professor of Sociology | Michigan State University


Carl Taylor is an expert on youth violence, youth culture and gangs.



Carl S. Taylor Publication




MSU Today: Carl Taylor- Activist/Scholar MSUToday: Carl Taylor in Detroit MSUToday InStudio: Carl Taylor Part 1 Behind the Crime Statistics | American Black Journal Full Episode MSU Today: Carl Taylor- Activist/Scholar



Carl Taylor is a professor in the Department of Sociology, Senior Fellow in University Outreach and Engagement and MSU Extension Specialist. Dr. Taylor has extensive experience in field research aimed at the reduction of violence involving American youth. He has taught in the school of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University and at Grand Valley State University. Dr. Taylor has directed the Department of Criminal Justice and Public Safety at Jackson Community College, served as a clinical professor to the Grand Valley State University Criminal Justice and Police Academy and as an associate of the National Community Policing Center. Professor Taylor has worked with communities, foundations and government agencies in understanding gangs, youth culture, and violence. Some of the organizations that Dr. Taylor has worked with include the Guggenheim Foundation, the C. S. Mott Foundation, the FBI Academy, and the Children’s Defense Fund. He also serves as the principal investigator for the Michigan Gang Research Project. Dr. Taylor served on the Michigan Juvenile Justice Committee for more than 10 years and advises various projects concerning youth throughout America. Dr. Taylor has established a national reputation as an ethnographer, and takes pride in having worked in some of the most isolated and distressed communities in the nation. As a criminologist and ecologist, his merging of the two disciplines has given him a unique viewpoint on emerging social issues. Having conducted research projects in Detroit over the last two decades, Dr. Taylor has a strong understanding of the problems facing many neighborhoods in urban America. Two projects, involving urban gangs, have resulted in two books that summarize the up-close impact of violence on communities: Dangerous Society (1990), Girls, Gangs, Women, and Drugs (1993), both published by Michigan State University Press. Jugendkulturen und Gangs (Youth Culture and Gangs) (1998), published in Germany extends his study internationally. Dr. Taylor is also founder and senior editor of the Journal of Urban Youth Culture.

Industry Expertise (2)



Areas of Expertise (4)

Youth Culture

Youth Activism

Gang Activity

Youth Violence

Accomplishments (1)

Founder of Journal of Urban Youth Culture (professional)

A peer-reviewed journal

Education (4)

Michigan State University: Presidential Fellow in Central Administration

Michigan State University: Ph.D., Administration in Higher Education

Michigan State University: M.S., Criminal Justice

Michigan State University: B.S., Multi-Disciplinary Social Science

Affiliations (2)

  • MSU Outreach and Engagement
  • MSU Extension

News (4)

What happens when protesters take over for the police?

The Christian Science Monitor  online


The appearance of gang activity in several such zones, however, has complicated the political messaging and endangered occupants and bystanders. That's why autonomous zones in Atlanta, Seattle, and Minneapolis expressed elements of what Michigan State University sociologist Carl Taylor calls the “third city.” These are areas that are controlled and affected “by poverty, violence, crime, drugs, ignorance and illicit enterprise.” In that way, lawless autonomous zones are simply the outgrowth of the perception that law and order is already absent, variable, or inconsistent. “When white men storm the capitol in Michigan and threaten the governor, we're not calling them gangs. But is that not worse than Bloods and Crips?” Taylor said. “That's why [some Black people] don't give a damn, because they don't live in America as it stands for fairness and justice. I'm not condoning [violent gang] behavior. But we shouldn't be surprised at what we are seeing.”

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Nordstrom Rack apologizes after 3 black shoppers are wrongly accused of shoplifting

Yahoo!  online


Nordstrom Rack has issued an apology after three black teens were stopped by police outside a St. Louis store last Thursday and falsely accused of shoplifting. Carl Taylor, PhD, a professor of sociology at Michigan State University, agrees, telling Yahoo Lifestyle that things have gone “way past the point of no return.”

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MSU Sociologist Reflects On Latest Police Shooting Of Unarmed Black Man

WDET  online


How can those dangers be eliminated and fears diminished? Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson talks to Michigan State University Professor of Sociology Carl Taylor. Taylor says many people on both sides of the issue — police and the black community — are becoming entrenched in their beliefs rather than seeking understanding.

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Carl Taylor: Living in the third city-nation

MSU Today  


My field studies of urban America have been anchored in my birthplace, Detroit, Michigan. I am fortunate to have been part of research that is both transitional and transformational. Postindustrial Michigan includes Detroit and the great contributions that Southeastern Michigan has made over the last century. As an urban ethnographer, I have used meta-analysis to observe and participate in this social phenomenon. Michigan has experienced the transformation from an agrarian economy to an industrial one that produced massive employment and created a powerful working middle class...

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Journal Articles (3)

The discourse of dog fighting

Humanity & Society

2007 In this essay, we discuss dog fighting as a blood sport with a history embedded in the status-driven display of masculinity, power and violence. Based on published reports and interviews with those living and working in dog fighting neighborhoods, we show that the contemporary cultural knowledge of dog fighting is a discourse with multiple meanings: for those who pit dogs against each other, for the worried public, for those who are charged with law enforcement, and for the dogs themselves. We conclude with an argument that the discourse of dog fighting might best be approached from the perspective of green criminology with a focus on those who are most abused by the crime: the fighting dogs.

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Positive individual and social behavior among gang and nongang African American male adolescents

Journal of Adolescent Research

2003 To explore potential bases of positive development among gang youth, attributes of positive individual and social behavior were assessed in individual interviews with 45 African American adolescent male members of inner-city Detroit gangs and 50 African American adolescent males from the same communities but involved in community-based organizations aimed at promoting positive youth development. As anticipated, the groups differed in regard to the majority of interview questions and to positive attribute scores pertaining to parents/family, peer relations, school/education, drug use, sexual activity, religious activities/religiosity, racial/ethnic identity, role models/confidants, and neighborhood/safety. The correlations of attributes scores were more often significant (i.e., coupled) for the gang than for the nongang youth. Consistent with the ideas that all young people have resources pertinent to positive development and that, therefore, gang and nongang youth would have some resource comparability, across the nine attributes, about one quarter of the gang youth had total positive attribute scores that were above the average total positive attribute score for the nongang youth. Implications of these findings for both research and applications to programs seeking to promote positive youth development among diverse youth are discussed.

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Individual and ecological assets and positive developmental trajectories among gang and community-based organization youth

New Directions for Student Leadership

2002 The Search Institute framework for conceptualizing developmental assets was used in a longitudinal study of African American male youth involved in gangs or in community-based organizations (CBOs) serving youth. Analyses of intraindividual change indicated that individual and ecological assets are linked to positive developmental trajectories among these youth.

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