Mark Fleisher, PhD

Research Professor, Begun Center

PhD, Washington State University
BA, Harpur College, SUNY at Binghamton
Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences

Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations

Room 219
Case Western Reserve University
11402 Bellflower Court
Cleveland, Ohio 44106


Mark S. Fleisher, Ph.D., was educated as a cultural anthropologist and linguistics with theoretical and methodological specializations in linguistic theory, generative grammar, phonology, sociolinguistics, and ethno-linguistics, field methods, qualitative data analysis, social network data collection and analysis, community-based systemic and program evaluation, delinquency and youth gangs, the American correctional system, and the application of social network analysis to organizational assessment and adolescent social networks. Over the past 25 years Fleisher’s research focused on prison management and violence, youth violence, youth gangs, organizational systems and evaluation, and social network analysis. Fleisher published five books, including two award-winning books (1995, 1998) and dozens of peer-review peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters.
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  • American Society of Criminology
  • International Network of Social Network Analysis

Scholarly Interests

  • Youth violence, youth gang, gang intervention
  • Street culture
  • Prisons
  • Social networks

Fleisher, M.S. (2013).  Homosexuality as pathogen:  A historically informed critique of the theories of sexual violence in prison as manifested in the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003.  Open Journal of Social Science1(2), 46-51.

Ozguler, M., Kocak, M., Fleisher, M. & Jefferis, E.  (2013)  Domestic migration in the Republic of Turkey:  Issues influencing resettlement policy.  Open Journal of Social Science(1),  31-41.

Fleisher, M.S. (2013).  ‘Levenslang’:  schadebeperking door levenslange gevangenisstraffen,  De levenslange vrijheidsstraf, jaargang 39, Ministerie van Beiligheid en Justitie, 2(13) 85-95.  [“Doing Life”:  Harm Reduction Through Life Sentences.]

Fleisher, M.S., & Noveske, J. (2013).  Gangs.   In  J.I. Ross (Ed.),  Encyclopedia of Street Crime (pp. 167-172)  Los Angeles:  Sage Publications.

Fleisher, M.S. (2013).  Gang management in corrections:  Recent innovations in prison gang suppression and intervention.  In P.M.. Carlson & J.S. Garrett (Eds.), Prison and Jail Administration:  Practice and Theory (3rd Ed., pp. 355-360)  Gaithersburg, MD:  Aspen Publishing.

Fleisher, M.S. (2012).  Gang management in corrections:  Recent innovations in prison gang suppression and intervention.  In P.M. Carlson & J.S. Garrett (Eds.), Prison and Jail Administration:  Practice and Theory. Third Edition.  Gaithersburg, MD:  Aspen Publishing.

Pyrooz, D., Decker, S. H., & Fleisher, M. S. (2011). From the street to the prison, from the prison to the street: understanding and responding to prison gangs. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 3(1), 12–24.

Fleisher, M. S., & Flannery, D. J. (2010). Harm reduction strategies within multi-cultural schools. In S. Uludag, C. Dogutas, O. Dolu, & H. Burker (Eds.), Children at risk and in need of protection: Safe schools (pp. 205–224). Anakara, Turkey: TBMM Basimevi.

Fleisher, M. S. (2009). Coping with Structural Adversity: Poverty, gangs and resilience in a U.S. African-American urban community. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 17,274–284.

Fleisher, M. S. (2009). Cultural competence and data flow networks in evaluation design. In S. Uludag, C. Dogutas, O. Dolu, & H. Buker (Eds.), Children in Conflict with the Law: Multidisciplinary Cooperation Solving Problems and Best Practices (pp. 183–211). Ankara, Turkey: TBMM Basimevi.

Fleisher, M. S., & Krienert, J. L. (2009). The Myth of Prison Rape: Sexual Culture in American Prisons. New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield.


Mark Fleisher in the News:

Mark Fleisher’s ‘Living Black: Social Life in an African American Neighborhood’ named among the Chicago Book Review’s best books of 2015

Feb 24 2016

The Chicago Book Review has named Mark Fleisher’s ‘Living Black: Social Life in an African American Neighborhood’ as one of the best books of 2015.

Published by the University of Wisconsin Press, the book provides a perspective into the day-to-day world of the historic North End neighborhood of Champaign, Illinois, a community 978-0-299-30534-5-frontcover of real and enduring poverty, yet one which maintains a vibrant social life and strong ties among generations. The neighborhood operates on its own nonjudgmental terms—teen moms aren’t derided, school dropouts aren’t ridiculed, and parolees and ex-cons aren’t scorned. The book focuses in on the stories of Mo and Memphis Washington, who fight to sustain a stable home for their children, and of Burpee, a local man who has returned to the North End to rebuild his life after years of crime and punishment in Chicago.

Dr. Fleisher serves as a Research Faculty Member with the Begun Center at CWRU’s Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.

The Chicago Book Review wrote of the work: “Coming on the heels of a year of protests and violence in Chicago, Baltimore, Ferguson, and so many other cities and neighborhoods across the country, Living Black opens a window on a world that so many of us make assumptions about, succumbing to stereotyping without actually having any real experiences or relationships on which to base those assumptions and stereotypes.

“…Above all, Living Black is a human story, not necessarily an account of white vs black or haves vs havenots. This timely study offers a glimpse into a part of society that many of us choose to ignore. At a time when tolerance and understanding seem in short supply, Living Black should be required reading for anyone who could benefit from a look outside their own world into the world of others. Which is most of us.”

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Mark Fleisher’s New Book Explores Life in a Poor African-American Community

Jan 12 2016

Mark Fleisher does not shy away from some of the harshest environs posing some of society’s greatest challenges, be they in the darkest recesses of prison or the streets and hovels that house street criminals or runaways and gang kids. Begun CIP Mark Fleisher Photo The renowned researcher and author has made a career of focusing in on tough people in rough circumstances, venturing into places most people would rather not think about, much less visit. The titles of his books themselves are a testimony to this work: ‘Beggars and Thieves’, ‘Dead End Kids: Gang Girls and the Boys They Know’, and ‘The Myth of Prison Rape: Sexual Culture in American Prisons’. His most recent book, Living Black: Social Life in an African-American Neighborhood, has recently been published by the University of Wisconsin Press.

He also recently published a chapter entitled, “The Culture of Violent Behavior: Language, Culture, and Worldview of Prison Rape”, appearing in Qualitative Research in Criminology, the latest volume of Advances in Criminological Theory, “a cogent appraisal of qualitative criminology and the ways in which rigorous qualitative research contributes to theorizing about crime and justice.”

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“I’m not necessarily an ‘expert’ in violence,” says Dr. Fleisher. “I am an expert in how to collect data on violence on the street. Basically, I’m a cultural anthropologist and a linguist. And, as an anthropologist, I understand one thing: That there are no simple solutions. You can’t pull at one risk factor or one resiliency factor and get an outcome.”

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