Skip to main content

Social scientist James Q. Wilson was a self-described conservative, but his ideas were embraced by thinkers and leaders across the political spectrum. Nowhere was that more true than in Los Angeles, where he lived and taught for more than two decades. His “broken windows theory” of combating crime—by maintaining order and focusing on minor infractions—helped re-shape LAPD policy. His work on bureaucracy influenced late 20th-century efforts to re-organize California governments. His writing on marriage and morality has been cited in contemporary debates on same-sex unions, marijuana dispensaries, and racial categorization. Can Wilson be thanked—or blamed—for changes in the place he considered home? Or did his theories obscure more deeply rooted problems? LAPD chief Charlie Beck, Pepperdine University economist Angela Hawken, UCLA political scientist Mark Peterson, and executive director at UCLA’s Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law Brad Sears visit Zócalo to ask how Wilson changed Los Angeles and the world—and how L.A. changed him.

Broken Window

Monday, June 4, 2012, 7:00pm

The RAND Corporation

1776 Main Street

Santa Monica, CA

To register or to get more information about this or other Zocalo Public Square forums, click here

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles