Daily mobility, social norms and deviance: Using big data to capture the dynamics of urban social environments


Understanding the implicit role of daily routine mobility in social norm formation provides avenues for regulating human behaviour through environmental design. Dr Renee Zahnow's research brings together administrative and survey data, across multiple temporal and spatial scales, to inform an understanding of the social and physical contexts in which social norms and deviance manifest. Broadly the research aims to better understand (a) social contagion and norm diffusion (b) moral obligation to obey norms and act as a guardian and (c) norm deviance. The tricky part is capturing the physical co-presence of individuals empirically.

The focus of this presentation will be on the way in which big data can be utilised to better understand the nuances of ‘normal’, everyday life that serve as precursors to both pro-social encounters and deviance; but can also serve as opportunities for everyday citizens to act as guardians in places they identify as their ‘territorial space’. Dr Renee Zahnow will report on recent work using ‘go-card’ smart card data, survey and mobile phone data to demonstrate ways in which big data and mobile phone data can help us to better understand the more implicit social dynamics of the urban landscape and establish strategies to maximise the potential of the public to act as informal crime guardians during regular daily life.


Dr Renee Zahnow is a Lecturer in Criminology in the School of Social Science at The University of Queensland (UQ). Renee has expertise in spatial and longitudinal analyses and she has applied these skills to examine a range of social problems including crime, disorder, community social processes, resilience, substance use and community regulation. Renee's research focuses on place-based patterns of crime, deviance and victimisation; she is particularly interested in understanding the link between the regularities of daily human mobility, social and behavioural norms and the propensity for crime and deviance. 


Room to be confirmed. This seminar will be held using the video conferencing software Zoom.