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Lecture 10

CRM302 (Criminological Theories)- Lecture 10

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CRM 302
Stephen Muzzatti

CRM302-011 – Week 11: “Feminist Criminology” Monday, April 1 , 2013 Feminist Criminology -Introduction (Shift of focus/sensitizing) - Historical Perspective on Women’s Transgression th th - Late 19 /early 20 Century (Césare Lombroso, W.I. Thomas, Otto Pollack) - Contemporary Criminologists (Freda Adler, Rita Simon, Carol Smart) - 80s & 90s Marxist Feminism (John Hagan; Martha Fineman, Ngaire Naffine; Edwin Schur, Nanette Davis, Clarice Stasz) --- INTRODUCTION - feminist criminology brought gender back into the equation of crime - in the 1970s and 1980s, the emergence of feminist criminology was one of the most important in providing a shift in focus (feminist criminology accomplished a lot in a short period of time) - theories about crime/transgressive behaviour are man-made (constructed by man, based upon a on disproportionate amount of men studying the behaviour of male subjects-> male researchers studying male criminals) - feminist criminology is not about bashing men, but just about bringing gender back into the equation - What is wrong with man studying man? Results from men studying men (half the population) are not recognizing the gender dynamic, the female population (the other half), yet they are generalizing it to account for the behaviour of all the population - In terms of sensitizing, feminist researchers made female victims and offenders more visible - brought light to the sexism in institutions and systems, like the criminal justice systems, and illustrated the way in which traditional gender roles have influenced the treatment of men and women in the systems, even in court decisions (EX: a woman’s accomplishments in very gendered activities, such as being a good mother/daughter/wife, or negatively, a woman’s sexual history) - women and girls were essentially being penalized/punished for behaviour that was condoned/encouraged in boys - feminist criminology also drew attention to the alternate roles of social control and how they impacted/regulated women - illustrated the apparent connection between formal police practice VS informal mechanisms to regulate the lives of women - a lot of feminist criminology contributed to, and was informed by, practitioners in the criminology field (rape crisis centres, domestic violence help centres, services for battered women) - Herman & Julia Schwendinger were very influential in the creation of the first rape crisis centre in California (1972) - feminist criminology has done a great deal in bringing gender to light as a central concern of criminology, yet completely absent in the majority of the criminology’s history - clearly a very gendered and racial crisis - men commit violent crimes more than women, yet for most of history this was not even taken into consideration = theories need to include both men AND women - feminist criminology is still a work in progress HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE ON WOMEN’S TRANSGRESSION - for most of criminology’s history and discussion of gender, there have been a few glaring exceptions: - for most of human history, crime was explained by supernatural/metaphysical forces, which DID take gender into account (mainly, that women were more susceptible to these forces than men) - example: religion/mythology state it as so – the Bible starts with the story of a disobedient women (Eve) at the centre of a horrible act (eating forbidden fruit, therefore resulting in humans being cast from the perfect garden) - second example: witch hunts were obviously a very gendered dynamic at work (approximately 1 million people were executed over several hundred years as witches, and 85-90% of them were women) - Salem Witch Trials (1692): three women originally accused of being witches just because they violated conventional norms in some way; they defied traditional gender norms -> Sarah Good kept employing a male servant even after her husband had died, Sarah Osborne was not married even though she should have been at her age, or defied racial norms -> Tituba was a coloured slave who took care of some young girls - WHY? - Kai Erikson wrote “Wayward Puritans” (1966) which provided an anomic perspective to apply to the community that the Salem Witch Trials took place in, positing that it was in a state of anomic crisis which led to these accusations - M.L. Starkey wrote “The Devil in Massachusetts” (1949) undertaking the topic/object of study as women who were acting hysterically as a result of boredom and sexual frustration - another theory was the spread of a fungus called ergot which poisoned the crop/wheat and a symptom of ergot poisoning was hallucinating, to account for the “hysterical behaviour” of the women LATE 19 /EARLY 20 CENTURY (Césare Lombroso, W.I. Thomas, Otto Pollack) - significant because of the anomalously little work done in terms of women in crime (astounding gender blindness) CESARE LOMBROSO - pathology-based physician who did work in studying the skull shapes and producing “atavism” - co-wrote “The Criminal Woman” (1895) which attempted to apply the notion of atavism (degenerate/evolutionary throwback) to women’s criminality - suggested women were morally deficient (moral sense was not as developed as men, and were like big children) = unnatural - depending on the “unnatural” they were, they would propelled into a type of crime - example: women who murdered (“murderess”) were unnaturally strong, or prostitutes were unnaturally attractive, therefore being propelled into sex trade W.I. THOMAS - famous for the “Thomas Theory” (If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences) - wrote “The Unadjusted Girl” (1923) which suggested girls involved in cr
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