Condensed Reading Notes "Womens subjective accounts..."

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Candace K.

Week 2: Gender and Social Control Kruttschnitt & Carbone-Lopez Moving Beyond the Sterotype - Womens Subjective Accounts of Their Violent Crimes Scholars, the courts, and especially the media have shown increasing interest in womens involvement in violent crime. However, their interest in this topic has been perhaps more prurient than analytic. Focusing in particular on women who kill, the question has been, how do we explain this aberration in the kinder and gentler sex? The answers appear to have changed relatively little over time and include biological defects, hormonal influences or, more recently, psychological syndromes that emerge from a history of severe victimization (Downs, 1996; Rasche, 1990). What all of these approaches have in common is that they deny womens agency or the possibility that women are involved in violent acts as active, rational human subjects (Morrissey, 2003). Study: We aim to contribute to this scholarship by analyzing narratives of 106 incidents in which sixty-six women used violence toward another person, whether an intimate partner or someone else. We want to determine how they construct their involvement in these violent incidents. We set the stage for our analysis by examining research on violent female offenders in the context of three advances in feminist criminology: 1. The first draws attention to the role of institutions in reproducing gendered hierarchies (see especially Connell, 1987, 2002). 2. The second focuses on how women realize their goals in gendered environments. 3. Finally, in this examination of women offenders agency, we also draw attention to the important, but somewhat limited, work that addresses how intersectionality can further our understanding of womens violence. INSTITUTIONS REPRODUCING STEREOTYPES OF FEMALE VIOLENCE Media Accounts of Womens Violence Morrissey suggests that because news stories, like other narratives, are the product of the cultural and social organization of the institution in which they are situated (Morrissey, 2003: 15), they rely onstocktales.Chesney-Lind (2006: 1112) argues that in the recent depictions of girls violence, the liberation-masculinization tale is most often invoked. Today, though, violence by women is largely portrayed as a by-product of their husband or partners violence toward them or of the abuse they experienced in their families of origin. If a womans violence cannot be readily linked with a conventional explanation such as child abuse or spouse abuse, she represents a threat to traditional gender norms and regimes, breaking down what some have called the essentialist argument that gender and sex are indissolubly linked (Gilbert, 2002: 1295). Interestingly, however, the use of these stock tales may also be conditioned by race. As Allard (1991) suggests in her critique of the battered woman syndrome, whereas a killing by a white
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