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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

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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

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19. Prostitution and sex work  

Jo Phoenix

This chapter explores current characteristics and contexts of women’s involvement in prostitution and sex work, particularly as they have evolved during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, before describing criminological knowledge about prostitution and sex workers. The final sections of the chapter review current regulatory frameworks governing women’s involvement in prostitution. Running throughout the chapter is the question: what is the relationship between how prostitution is theorized and the politics of prostitution policy and its reform?

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30. Prostitution and sex work  

Jo Phoenix

This chapter explores current characteristics and contexts of women’s involvement in prostitution and sex, particularly as they have evolved during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, before describing criminological knowledge about prostitution and sex workers. The final sections of the chapter review current regulatory frameworks governing women’s involvement in prostitution. Running throughout the chapter is the question: what is the relationship between how prostitution is theorized and the politics of prostitution policy and its reform?

Chapter

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11. Gender and feminist criminology  

Pamela Ugwudike

This chapter focuses on criminological studies of gender, particularly women’s experiences as offenders and victims, and the extent to which women’s offending and victimisation are interlinked. It begins with an overview of how gender features in criminological studies then considers the origins and principles of feminist criminology, which is a strand of criminology that has heavily influenced criminological studies of gender and crime. The chapter also explores the main theoretical traditions within feminist criminology and the philosophical orientations that influence feminist research. This exploration includes the criticisms levelled against feminist criminology. Finally, the chapter examines how more recent strands of feminist thought have tried to respond to these criticisms.

Chapter

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18. Domestic violence  

David Gadd

This chapter outlines the key definitional and aetiological issues surrounding domestic violence perpetration. It begins with a discussion of how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted on domestic abuse globally, before assessing international estimates of the percentage of women worldwide who have ever been physically or sexually assaulted by a partner. The second section of the chapter reviews the British historical literature to show how Victorian concern with the protection of respectable women from ‘wife-beaters’ yielded to a medical-psychiatric discourse that blamed hysterical women for provoking men with quick tempers. It then outlines how twentieth-century feminist accounts reframed the problem of ‘wife-beating’ variously in terms of ‘domestic violence’, ‘domestic abuse’, ‘intimate partner violence’, ‘coercive control’, and ‘gender-based violence’ in efforts that exposed the roles of sexism, inadequate legal protection, and gender inequality in perpetuating a ‘continuum’ of abuse against women under patriarchy. The third part of the chapter appraises the critique of gender-based perspectives provided by psychological studies, some of which point to ‘gender symmetry’ in the perpetration of domestic violence and some of which reveal personality differences between perpetrators and non-violent men; as well as sociological studies that expose how the intersections between gender and ethnicity, sexuality and age manifest themselves, both in incidents of domestic violence and in official reactions to them. The chapter concludes by pointing to the challenge of finding a common voice capable of capturing the collective experiences of those in need of protection from domestic violence as well as the need to find ways of responding to perpetrators whose attitudes, motives, backgrounds are not necessarily identical to each other. These challenges are rendered more acute when the law is revealed as unpredictable in its capacity to determine the culpability of the small minority of men who perpetrate grievous assaults on their partners.

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.

Chapter

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29. Domestic violence  

David Gadd

This chapter outlines the key definitional and aetiological issues surrounding domestic violence perpetration. It begins with international estimates of the prevalence of domestic violence, many of which confine themselves to assessments of the percentage of women worldwide who have ever been physically or sexually assaulted by a partner. The second section of the chapter reviews the British historical literature to show how Victorian concern with the protection of respectable women from ‘wife-beaters’ yielded to a medical-psychiatric discourse that blamed hysterical women for provoking men with quick tempers. It then outlines how twentieth-century feminist accounts reframed the problem of ‘wife-beating’ variously in terms of ‘domestic violence’, ‘domestic abuse’, ‘intimate partner violence’, ‘coercive control’, and ‘gender-based violence’ in efforts that exposed the roles of sexism, inadequate legal protection, and gender inequality in perpetuating a ‘continuum’ of abuse against women under patriarchy. The third part of the chapter appraises the critique of gender-based perspectives provided by: psychological studies, some of which point to ‘gender symmetry’ in the perpetration of domestic violence and some of which reveal personality differences between perpetrators and non-violent men; and sociological studies that expose how the intersections between gender and ethnicity, sexuality and age manifest themselves, both in incidents of domestic violence and in official reactions to them. The chapter concludes by pointing to the challenge of finding a common voice capable of capturing the collective experiences of those in need of protection from domestic violence as well as the need to find ways of responding to perpetrators whose attitudes, motives, backgrounds are not necessarily identical to each other. These challenges are rendered more acute when the law is revealed as unpredictable in its capacity to determine the culpability of the small minority of men who perpetrate grievous assaults on their partners.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

33. Desistance from crime and implications for offender rehabilitation  

Joanna Shapland and Anthony Bottoms

Most of those who offend, even those who offend persistently, stop committing offences as they grow older. The process of stopping to commit crime—desistance—is affected by people’s own decisions, attitudes, and self-identity but also by their social context and by relationships with people close to them. In this chapter, we explore theories of how desistance occurs, in terms of the individuals themselves, their own agency, and social structures and relationships. The research evidence from around the world on what affects desistance is then examined. Finally, we consider how the criminal justice system may affect desistance through the effect of criminal records and opportunities for rehabilitation. Because social context is important, pathways to desistance can also vary according to gender and cultural background (e.g., the importance of family differs in different cultures).