Profile for Peter Marina

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Peter Marina

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

Specialty area(s)

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

Brief biography

Dr. Peter Marina, a New Orleans native, is a PhD graduate of the New School for Social Research in Manhattan, and author of Down and Out in New Orleans: Transgressive Living in the Informal Economy (Columbia University Press, 2017), among other books. As a sociologist and criminologist, Marina writes about new and emergent forms of transgression in our highly contradictory late-modern social world. His approach to sociology incorporates the striking dialectic of history and biography that allows him to penetrate and interact with a wide range of culturally diverse social groups around the world — from inner-city youths and street kids, to urban street performers and willful outsiders on the social fringes of the metropolis, to religiously inspired residents of the inner-city and urban occultists and Satanists, and most recently, to down and out urban dwellers — in a quest to make sense both empirically and theoretically of this rapidly changing, surprising but always fascinating world.

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.


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


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


  1. (In progress) America’s Third Coast: Race, Tourism, and Culture in Coastal Mississippi. University Press of Mississippi.
  1. Human Rights Policing: Reimagining Law Enforcement in the 21st Century (with Pedro Marina). October 7. Routledge Press. Paperback ISBN: 9781032115191; Hardback ISBN 9781032115221
  1. Social Problems in the Age of Discontent: A Manual for Sociological Thinking. Kendall Hunt Publishing, Second Edition. ISBN: 978-1-7924-6631-3
  1. 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).
  1. 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).
  1. 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

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).



Peter Marina, Sociology & Criminal Justice, presented "A Transgressive Model of Policing: Transforming the Legal Gang to a Human Rights Organization" at American Society of Criminology Conference on Nov. 19 in Atlanta. The presentation stems from Marina's newly published book "Human Rights Policing: Reimagining Law Enforcement in the 21st Century" (Routledge Press (2022). This book is part of his larger work on analyzing new modalities of transgression, struggle, resistance, and transformation.

Submitted on: Nov. 21



Peter Marina, Sociology & Criminal Justice, authored the book "Human Rights Policing Reimagining Law Enforcement in the 21st Century" published on Monday, Oct. 10 by Routledge Press. Relying on intense ethnography and extensive experiences teaching human rights policing to police officers, this book teaches law enforcement professionals how to apply human rights to their careers. But this book does more. It reimagines the institution of law enforcement as we push toward the later stages of modernity. It provides the intellectual tools on how to think about policing in new and creative ways.

Submitted on: Oct. 10



Peter Marina, Sociology & Criminal Justice, authored the article "Human Rights Policing: Those Who Point the Finger are Often Most Guilty" in The Blue Magazine published on Monday, Sept. 5. Reaching out to those on the political left and right to expand Human Rights Policing, Marina discusses how projection "others" people and leads to increased class divisions that undermine human rights. If we realize our own tendencies to project our insecurities and flaws onto other people, perhaps we can work toward solving structural problems instead of scapegoating people.

Submitted on: Sept. 5



Peter Marina, Sociology & Criminal Justice, authored the article "The (privileged) people who say all cops are “racist” are really the racist part of society" in Law Enforcement Today published on July 30 by Law Enforcement Today. In his attempt to reach out to people on all sides of the political spectrum to advance human rights policing in the U.S., Marina gives his take on policing and projection to a largely conservative audience. Instead of blaming police for racism, maybe privileged people need to examine the ugly shadows they cast onto the faces of others.

Submitted on: Aug. 4



Peter Marina, Sociology & Criminal Justice, was interviewed by Ezra Wall of Wisconsin Public Radio on March 11. This interview focused on Peter and Pedro Marina's human rights policing class that trains police officers in Wisconsin and beyond how to apply human rights to policing. The goal is to improve policing now, and further, reimagine law enforcement as we push towards the last stages of modernity.

Submitted on: Mar. 17