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Peter Marina

Associate Professor
Sociology & Criminal Justice
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

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Peter Marina

Associate Professor

Sociology & Criminal Justice

Specialty area(s)

Urban Ethnography, Critical & Cultural Criminology, Deviance & Transgression, Race & Ethnicity, Criminal Justice, Human Rights Policing, Cultures & Social Inequalities, Travel and Tourism, Urban Sociology, Hispanic Immigration, among other topics.

Brief biography

Dr. Peter Marina, a sociologist and criminologist, holds a Ph.D. from the New School for Social Research in Manhattan. His book publications include Human Rights Policing: Reimagining Law Enforcement in the 21st Century (Routledge Press, 2022) and Down and Out in New Orleans: Transgressive Living in the Informal Economy (Columbia University Press, 2017), among other books and articles. Marina's scholarly endeavors focus on exploring new and emergent forms of transgression within our complex late-modern social world. His approach to sociology and criminology integrates the dialectic of history and biography, enabling him to engage with a diverse array of social groups worldwide. From inner-city youths and street performers to urban occultists and marginalized urban dwellers, Marina's research spans a broad spectrum of cultural and social contexts. With a keen eye for the intricacies of human behavior, Marina delves into the lives of individuals on society’s fringes, seeking to unravel the complexities of experiences and interactions. His work delves into the lives of religiously inspired inner-city residents, urban occultists, and even law enforcement officers, offering valuable insights into the dynamics of power, resistance, and social control in contemporary urban environments. Through his interdisciplinary approach, Marina endeavors to bridge the gap between empirical observation and theoretical understanding, shedding light on the ever-evolving landscape of modern society. His scholarly pursuits reflect a deep commitment to understanding and contextualizing the complexities of human existence in an era marked by rapid change and social transformation.

Current courses at UWL

Social Problems (120); Sociological Foundations (200); Sociology of City Life (319); Delinquency (321); Criminology (322); Human Rights Policing (333); Qualitative Explorations (416, Senior Capstone); Deviance (SOC 429); Human Rights Policing (Graduate & Extended Learning)

Creator/Professor- Human Rights Policing Certificate Program, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse Extended Learning (Fall 2020 – Current) - This program trains law enforcement agents how to apply human rights to policing. Law enforcement agents who complete the program receive a Certificate of Completion in Human Rights Policing.

I also developed the "Human Rights & Criminal Justice Certificate" where students who want to work in criminology/criminal justice or community advocacy can boost their criminal justice credentials.


Ph.D., Sociology: New School for Social Research, New York, New York
M.A., Sociology: University of New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana
B.A., Education: University of New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana

High School, College Preparatory: De La Salle, New Orleans, Louisiana


Teaching history

Deviance; Urban Sociology; Sociology of Conflict; Power, Ideology, and Social Movements; Qualitative Methods in Social Research; Problems in Urban Community; Ethnic and Minority Relations; Sociological Writing; Masculinities; Women's and Gender Studies; Sociology of the Family; Creative Writing; American History; World History; Independent Studies

Professional history

Creator of the Human Rights Policing Program, University of Wisconsin - La Crosse Extended Learning

Visiting Research Scholar. University of New Orleans
(Research on Transgressive Sociology)

Visiting Summer Lecturer. University of New Orleans (Criminology - 4921)

Visiting Assistant Professor. University of Missouri – St. Louis

Lecturer. City University of New York (John Jay College of Criminal Justice)

Research and publishing


2024. (in progress) America’s Third Coast: Race, Tourism, and Culture in Coastal Mississippi. University Press of Mississippi.

2023. Human Rights Policing: Reimagining Law Enforcement in the 21st Century (with Pedro Marina). October 7. Routledge Press. Paperback ISBN: 9781032115191; Hardback ISBN 9781032115221

2022. Social Problems in the Age of Discontent: A Manual for Sociological Thinking. Kendall Hunt Publishing, Second Edition. ISBN: 978-1-7924-6631-3

2019. Chasing Religion in the Caribbean: Ethnographic Journeys from Antigua to Trinidad. Palgrave Macmillan. Paperback – September 7, 2019. Palgrave Macmillan; 1st ed. 2016 edition. (ISBN: 978-1349934218).

2017. Down and Out in New Orleans: Transgressive Living in the Informal Economy. Columbia University Press. Published September 5, 2017. (ISBN: 978-0-231-17852-5).

2014. Getting the Holy Ghost: Urban Ethnography in a Brooklyn Pentecostal Tongue-Speaking Church. Lexington Books. Paperback– October 31, 2014. Lexington Books; 1st ed. March 2013. (ISBN: 978-1498503563)

(In Progress) New Hispanic Places: Immigration, Revitalization, and Urban Change in Post-Industrial New Jersey (with David Gladstone).


Newsmakers: Peter Marina Radio Interview with Wisconsin Public Radio on human rights and law enforcement at (March 11, 2022).

PETER MARINA INTERVIEW WITH WPR: UW-La Crosse Offering Class On 'Human Rights Policing' To Local Law Enforcement (September 8, 2020)

PETER MARINA INTERVIEWED BY JOURDAN VIAN IN LA CROSSE TRIBUNE- UW-L program to dig deep into ‘human rights policing’
La Crosse Tribune, 31 August, 2020

PETER MARINA ON WWNO- In case you missed it live, here is an excerpt from Peter Marina’s talk about his book, “Down and Out in New Orleans.” (The full, unedited version of the talk is here.)

PETER MARINA ON NPR NEW ORLEANS- Dr. Marina’s interview begins at 13 minutes This week on The Reading Life: Peter Marina, author of “Down and Out in New Orleans: Transgressive Living in the Informal Economy”.

PETER MARINA IN NEW ORLEANS’ THE GAMBIT- Meet the sociologist who lived among New Orleans squatters and street performers The Gambit, January 5, 2018

Buskers of New Orleans: Transgressive Sociology in the Urban Underbelly.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography (first published on August 2, 2016).

"Becoming a God Hunter Towards Conversion in a Brooklyn Tongue-Speaking Church." Social Compass 2016, Vol. 63(1) 76–92.

Sample Articles Outside Academia

"School Resource Officers: ‘Momma Bear’ and the Human Rights Approach.The Blue Magazine. Vol. 13, Issue 6, February 1, 2023.

Human Rights Policing: Those Who Point the Finger are Often Most Guilty.” The Blue Magazine. Vol. 13, Issue 3, September 5, 2022.

"A Call for Human Rights Policing: We Can Make the World Better.” The Blue Magazine. Vol. 12, Issue 5, (November 26, 2021).

The Lesser of Two Evils is Still Evil” La Crosse Tribune (March 22, 2020)

How New Orleans Became the Paris of the Mississippi: A Cultural Magnet and Melting Pot, From the 1920s to Today” (The Literary Hub, 2017)

“Diversity Makes Us Better.” La Crosse Tribune and Chippewa Herald (February 12, 2017)
“Broken-windows Policing is Failed Policy.” La Crosse Tribune (November 4, 2015)
“County's Juvenile Arrest Rate Hurting our Kids.” La Crosse Tribune (April 26, 2015)
“Hispanic Community Strengthens Community.” La Crosse Tribune (October 8, 2014)

Book Series Editor

2016-Current. Series Editor: Ethnographies of Religion (A New Series from Lexington Books).