Explaining female crime

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  • Created by: charl_w
  • Created on: 11-02-16 17:54
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  • Explaining female crime
    • Functionalist sex role theory
      • 1. Parsons functionalist explanation focuses on gender socialisation and role models in the nuclear family to explain gender roles.
      • 2. Women perform expressive roles at home e.g responsibility for socialisation. This gives girls an adult role model.
        • But boys reject feminine models of behaviour that expresses tenderness and emotion.
          • CRITISIMS: Parsons assumes that because women have the biological capacity to bear children, they are best suited to the expressive role. (Sandra Walklate)
      • 3. Instead boys distance themselves by engaging in risk taking, aggression and anti social behaviour.
      • 4. Men take the instrumental role, performed outside the home. This makes socialisation harder for boys.
      • 5. A.K Cohen argues the absence of a male role model at home means boys are more likely to turn to street male gangs as a source of masculine identity. Here they earn status by acts of delinquency.
      • By contrast with functionalists feminists explain gender differences in offending in terms of patriarchy.
    • Heidensohn: Patriarchal control
      • Heidensohn argues that women commit fewer crimes then men because patriarchal society imposes greater control over women.
        • Thus reducing their opportunities to offend.
      • Control at home
        • Women domestic role with housework and childcare imposes restrictions on their time and confines them to the house for long periods of time. Reducing opportunity to offend.
        • Men are able to impose this rule on women e.g by threat of domestic violence and through financial power (Dobash and Dobash)
        • Daughters are subject to patrichal control also, with restrictions on them staying out late. so develop 'bedroom culture' socialising at home.
      • Control in public
        • Women are controlled in public by the threat of male sexual violence. Media reportage of rapes helps to frighten women into staying indoors.
          • Islington crime survey found 54% of women avoided going out after dark and only 14% of men did.
        • Females are controlled in public by their fear of being defined as not respectable. Dress, makeup etc can gain women a reputation.
          • Women may on their own man avoid going to pubs which are sites of criminal behaviour- for fear of being regarded as sexually loose.
        • Sue Lee's notes in school boys maintain control through sexualised verbal abuse e.g 'slag' if they fail to conform to gender role expectations.
      • Control at work
        • Womens subordinate position at work reduces criminal opportunities
        • Women behaviour is controlled by male supervisors and managers. Sexual harassment keeps women in 'their place'.
        • 'Glass ceiling' prevents women from rising to senior positions where there is greater opportunity of fraud.
      • These patriarchal restrictions means they have fewer opportunities commit crime
        • However Heidensohn recognises that patriarch can also push women to commit crime. E.g women are more likely to be poor and may turn to theft to gain a decent standard of living.
    • Carlen: gender and class deals
      • Carlen uses Hirshi's control thereto explain female crime:
        • Hirshi argues that humans act rationally and are controlled by being offered a 'deal' rewards in return for conforming to norms.
        • People commit crime if they don't believe they will get rewards or if the rewards of crime appear greater than risks.
      • Carlen argues that w/c women are generally led to conform through the promise of two deals:
        • 1. The class deal- women who work will get a decent standard of living.
          • Women in Carlen's deal had failed to find a legitimate way of earning money, most had always been in poverty and couldn't get a job.
            • As they had gained nothing from either deal, they felt they had nothing to lose by committing crime to escape poverty.
              • 2. The gender deal- women who conform to the conventional domestic gender role will gain the material and emotional rewards of family life.
                • Some of the women in the study had been abused by partners, or been in care which broke family bonds
              • 1. The class deal- women who work will get a decent standard of living.
                • Women in Carlen's deal had failed to find a legitimate way of earning money, most had always been in poverty and couldn't get a job.
                  • As they had gained nothing from either deal, they felt they had nothing to lose by committing crime to escape poverty.
                    • 2. The gender deal- women who conform to the conventional domestic gender role will gain the material and emotional rewards of family life.
                      • Some of the women in the study had been abused by partners, or been in care which broke family bonds
    • The liberation thesis

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