MSU Dept of Sociology

Home / faculty / Directory / Carl S. Taylor

Taylor, Carl S.

410B Berkey Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Carl S. Taylor


Carl S. Taylor, PhD is a professor in the Department of Sociology, Senior Fellow in University Outreach and Engagement and MSU Extension Specialist at Michigan State University. 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 ten 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.

An advocate for investing in human capital, Dr. Taylor believes that early investment, intervention and education create strong homes, families, and communities. The lessons from his family and earlier childhood have impressed upon him the necessity to give back to society. The sense of balance is crucial in his work. Scholarship must include reaching out to communities, local and global. Professor Taylor values the classroom on campus and extends that classroom into communities.

Research Interests

Areas of Specialization: Community and Urban; Migration

Subareas: Community Development, Gangs, Youth Culture

Recent Publications

Taylor, Carl S. and Pamela R. Smith. 2013. “The Attraction of Gangs: How Can We Reduce It?” Pp. 19-30 in Changing Course: Preventing Gang Membership (NCJ 239234). Simon, T.R., Ritter, N.M, and Mahendra, R.R., eds. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Washington, DC.

Taylor, Carl S. and Pamela R. Smith. 2011. "Constructive Work with Urban Gangs" pp. 137-154 in Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice: Speaking Out and Standing Up for Families, edited by L. A. De Reus and L. B. Blume. Ann Arbor: Scholarly Publishing Office/University of Michigan Press.

Awards and Honors

Recipient of the Kevin D. Bibbs Award from the Turning Point of Lansing Organization-Outstanding African American Leader in the Greater Lansing Community 2015

College of Social Science Alumni Association Outstanding Teaching Award 2015