Professor Listing


Marta-Marika Urbanik, BA, MA, PhD

Assistant Professor



About Me

I am an urban ethnographer, specializing in gangs and neighbourhood redevelopment in the Canadian context. My research interests include issues pertaining to gangs and gang violence (in neighbourhoods and in prison), the effects of neighbourhood redevelopment on criminal processes, neighbourhood 'beefs' and violence, the street code on social media, police-minority relations, and research methods.  

I completed my Ph.D in the Department of Sociology, with a specialization in criminology, here at the University of Alberta .My doctoral research analyzed the effects of neighbourhood revitalization on gangs, criminal structures, and violence within Canada's oldest and largest social housing project (Regent Park).My doctoral work received multiple awards, including the Social Science and Humanities Research Council's (SSHRC) Joseph-Armand Bombardier award, the Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship (the most prestigious award at the University of Alberta), the Dorothy J. Killam Award, and the University of Alberta's President's Doctoral Prize of Distinction, among others. I completed my Masters degree at the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies at the University of Toronto. 

I am also the Book Review Editor of Canada's flagship sociology journal, The Canadian Journal of Sociology

routinely present my research at national and international conferences,  including at venues of the American Society for Criminology (Washington, Atlanta, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Fransisco), the Western Society of Criminology (Hawaii), Canadian Sociological Association (Calgary), the American Sociological Association (Montreal),  the Eurogang Network (Sweden, Netherlands), the Surveillance Studies Network (Barcelona), and the Canada Research Ethics Board meeting (Toronto). In addition, I have been an invited speaker at the University of Toronto and the University of Calgary. 

My work is published in the British Journal of Criminology, Qualitative Sociology, the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, the Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment (Wiley), and Using Ethnography in Criminology (Springer).


I am currently involved in a number of research projects:

1) An exploration of resident experiences of invasive policing practices in Toronto's inner-city 

2) An exploration and comparison of the neighbourhood-effects of the opening of Safe Consumption Sites in Edmonton and Calgary  

3) An examination of crime and violence in South West Edmonton 

4) An exploration of prison gangs in Western Canada

5) An examination of the role that social media plays in perpetuating the street code


Aside from my commitment to research, I have a strong dedication to teaching. I teach the following courses: 

- Criminology (SOC 225)

- Sociology of Deviance and Conformity ( SOC 224)

- Gangs, Ghettos, and Violence (SOC 420)

I also supervise Field Placements in Criminology (SOC 399/499) students, undergraduate and graduate research assistants, and graduate students