Crime and Deviance:Topic 8A

Feminist aproaches to crime and deviance

  • Created by: Sasha127
  • Created on: 17-05-15 14:09

Male Domination of criminology

Although its true that the majority of offenders are male compromising about 80% of all official statistics of offenders its surprising that 20% of all offenders are often ignored.

Frances Heindension- has criticised the male dominance of crime and deviance calling it malestream criminology and suggested theres 4 reasons why it is so.

  • Male dominance of offenders- as the magority of offenders are male for many socs its therefore most aropriate to study them rather than the minority of female offenders
  • Male domination of sociology- although the majority of sociology students are women the majority of academics are male. Acording to heindensohn sociological topics of investigation refelct male veiws and interests.
  • Vicarious identification- what interests males is sudied, when aplied to crime this means the lives of the marginal and exiting
  • Sociological theorising- male sociologists construct their theories without ever thinking about how they could be applied to females. most tradtional theories are "gender blind" which in effect means they ignore the spesific veiwpoints of women
  • In the past most male socs ignored female offending however fems from all strand of sociology have all sought to include criminological analyses within their aproaches.
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Male domination of criminology evaluation

  • Sociology has developed a great deal since heindenson identified male bias feminism has become a far more important perspective in the sociology of devince and theres been a great deal of reaserch on gender and crime eg domestic violence.
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Types f feminist aproaches to crime and deviance

  • Liberal feminism- this aproach to feminism is based on the idea that by bringing women onto the agenda and by demonstrating how women have been ignored in reaserch then there will be a greater understanding of female deviance. In particular new theories can be developed which cover both males and females.
  • Radical feminsim- Radical fems aruge that the only way to understand crime is to see it through a female perspective and reaserch should be based on the assumption that all men are prepared to commit crimes against women if given the chance. Women should construct their own unique aproaches to explaining crime nd deviance and should incoporate the treat from men.
  • Socialist feminist- marx fems- stresses the position of men and women in general and with reference to crime can only be understood by locating males and females within the context of societies divided by sexism and capetalism.
  • Post mod fems- Smart and Cain argue the very concerns of criminology (burglary, street crime etc) reflect male concerns and women should look beyond these to see how crime comes to women in the widest sense possible. The concern of feminist criminology should be to look at the way women are harmed by a whole range of processes and not accept the male boundries of criminology.Introduced the concept of transgressive criminology.
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Types of feminist aproaches to crime and deviance

suggesting that criminology itself as a dicipline was tied to male questions and concerns and that it could never offer awnsers to feminist questions.

  • Instead of attempting to produce a feminist criminology by asking the question what can feminists offer criminology feminists whould be arguing "what can criminology do for feminists?" The awnser was to look at a whole range of activities leagal and illegal which harm women and then to ask how these came about and how they could be changed.
  • The term "transgression" in this context means to go beyond the boundries of criminology leading to feminists and sympathetic male sociologists looking more closely at the way women stayed in at night for fear of becoming victimes, at domestic violence and how women were treated by the law in issues such as **** and harrassment where they overwhelmingly form the bulk of victims.
  • Transgression is a good example of the postmod influence in sociology when the traditional boundries of sociology and the categories used to classify issues are abandoned and new fresher ways of thinking are introduced. For example transgressive criminology may investigate how women face sexist and abusive treatment from men as part of their everyday lives.
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Key study: Andrea Dworking

  • Born to secuar jewish parents and riased in new jersey Dworking became a raidcla "second wave feminist". by her own account her work is informed by a series of negtive personal experiences including sexual assalt age nine again by doctors at the womens house fo detention in new york in 1965 (after an arrest for protesting the vietnem war) work as a prostetute and marriage to a battering husband whome she left in 1971. While she is a self identified lesbian she has lived with her gay partner John Stolenberg whom she married in 1998.
  • The main theme in dworkings work is male violence against women this vilence is a defining feature of our male supremacist culture in whic ****, prostitution and **** are inevitable expressions of gender norms.
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Dworking: ****

  • Well known for her anti **** writing and activism begining with her analysis of **** in "woman hating" and continued with a series of essays "in our blood" and "letters from a war zone" and her first full length treatment "****ography, men possessing women". In "women hating" she had positive things to say about **** in the 60's and 70's arguing that its graphic depictions and celebrations of oral sex and female genitals helped "break down the barriers to the realization of a full sexuality" but in right wing women she asserted that all females to be feminists had to be anti ****.
  • Her champain against **** with the lawyer Catherine Mac Kinnon has drawn much attention- in 1983 they drafted an ordiance for the minneapolis city council that treated **** as a form of sex discrimination making its production and distrobution a ground for civil rights action. The ordinance defines **** as the graphic, sexually explicit subodination of women.
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Dworking: ****

  • Calls for freedom repeatedly in her writing not just freedom from gender role sand **** but also from ****.
  • For dworking **** is along with **** and intercourse one of 3 focal ellements of male supremacy. The prominance of **** in the history of western culture is important in Dworkings throught about intercourse. The violence and possession of intercourse is only a short step from ****. Her bluring of the line between concensual intercourse and **** is intentional and derives from her beleif that women have been socially and legally unable to give or withhold consent through human history. This inability derives from the social and legal negotiatiion of their autonomy and personhood. if women arent affoded the same rights as men, if they are legally chattel, if economic and social circomstance curtail their choices and they are socialised to be passive and masochistic then women will hardly be in a position to grant or withhold genuine consent.
  • Unified by mens right of access to womens bodies consensual intercourse and violent **** are therefore points on the same scale. All "consensual" hetro sex is for women some form of sexual economic bargin. This is clear in prostitution which vividly expresses he econimic exploitation of women. She asserts that prostitutes are coerced by the system of male supremacy even when they arent intimidated or forced into particular acts of prostitution.
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Dworking: **** 2

  • Women can't voluntarily prostitute themselves any more than they can consent to intercourse. She argues that prostitution "is more like a gang **** than anything else"
  • Her writings on **** concentrate on the meanings and implications of historical and contemporary laws about ****, sexual assalt and marriage. She also argues that **** is innevitable expression of masculine sexuality as constructed in western culture.
  • **** and sexual assalt arn't merely acts done by "phychopths or deviants from our social norms" but caused by our normative definitions of men as aggresive, dominant and powerful and women as passive submissive and powerless. ths we must elliminate these cultural definitions. Again Dworking uneaths the problems our gender norms generate.
  • Points out that women have been treated by law and by customs as the property of their fathers or husbands this remained until maritial **** became criminal in all 50 states in 1993 and 22 states still remained some exeptions to their maritial **** law untill 2003. Previously men had legal rights of sexual access to their wives wives dodn't have the power to refuse. On Dworkings veiw the situation was just part of a pattern of regulation of sexual conduct that normalized coercive reltionships between the sexes a pattern which included treatince complience as consent, admiting victims sexual history in defense of**** adn requiring physicla ingury as proof.
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