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Chapter

Cover Understanding Jurisprudence

14. Feminist theory  

Many of the theories discussed in the previous chapters neglect or even ignore the position of women in society, and how they are treated by the law, the legal system, and other aspects of social, economic, and political life. Feminist writers have, in various ways, sought to correct this imbalance or prejudice. This chapter examines several key elements of feminist legal theories, and explores the origins of feminism; legal feminisms (liberal feminism, radical feminism, postmodern feminism, and difference feminism) and their impact on legal philosophy. It discusses the enormous literature on the subject, and its criticism of conventional jurisprudence.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

9. Feminist criminology: inequalities, powerlessness, and justice  

Michele Burman and Loraine Gelsthorpe

This chapter addresses complexities and continuing concerns in thinking about feminist perspectives and contributions to criminology. The chapter charts feminist contributions to criminology over time, dwelling on the paradigmatic shifts in criminology in both substantive and epistemological and methodological terms, extending both the terrain of criminological theorizing and understanding of knowledge forms. The notion of feminist criminology as a transitional phase towards a more humanistic stance in relation to crime and justice in a globalized context is also explored. The chapter considers synergies between feminist contributions and other work which has focused on inequalities before the law and addresses the issue of migrant offenders and victims, criminal behaviour, and criminal justice, as well as victims of human trafficking, these being examples of the problematic dichotomy between victims and offenders.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

17. Feminist criminology: Inequalities, powerlessness, and justice  

Michele Burman and Loraine Gelsthorpe

This chapter addresses complexities and continuing concerns in thinking about feminist perspectives and contributions to criminology. It charts feminist contributions to criminology over time, dwelling on paradigmatic shifts in substantive, epistemological, and methodological terms, and the ways in which feminism has transformed criminological research and practice. The chapter explores contemporary feminist research agendas focused on issues of powerlessness, justice, and inequality, addressing research on violence against women, digital technology, human trafficking, migration, and criminal justice. The notion of feminist criminology as a transitional phase towards a more humanistic stance in relation to crime and justice in a globalized context is also explored.

Chapter

Cover International Human Rights Law

3. Critiques  

Marie-Bénédicte Dembour

This chapter reviews six critiques of human rights, deriving from realist, utilitarian, Marxist, particularist (cultural relativist), feminist, and post-colonial theoretical perspectives. The first three critiques emerged in reaction to the (successive) French Declarations of the Rights of Man of the late eighteenth century; the last three were fully developed in reaction to the International Bill of Rights enacted after the Second World War. Each of these critiques reveals a gap between what human rights claim to be or achieve, on the one hand, and what human rights are or do in practice, on the other.

Chapter

Cover Understanding Deviance

11. Feminist Criminology  

This chapter deals with feminist criminology and the critique of a traditionally masculine-driven discipline. It considers feminist arguments about the relationship between the criminality of women and their subordinate position and life experiences and the role of gender in theories of crime and deviance. It first considers Carol Smart’s views, as well as those of other theorists such as O. Pollak, W. I. Thomas, L. Gelsthorpe, and A. Morris. It then examines substantive areas where significant work has been accomplished in the field of feminist criminology: the ‘female emancipation leads to crime’ debate; the invalidation of the ‘leniency’ hypothesis; the relations between gender, crime, and social control; gender-specific crime; the increased prominence of the female victim in political and academic analysis; the gendered nature of victimization and criminalization; male violence; and intersectionality of class-race-gender inequalities. It concludes with a review of criticisms against feminist criminology.