What, if anything, has the discipline of criminology learned from the inclusion of a gendered perspective?

Topics: Crime, Criminology, Sociology Pages: 5 (3029 words) Published: October 23, 2014

What, if anything, has the discipline of criminology learned from the inclusion of a gendered perspective? Gender and Crime
Module: Soci308
Deadline: 13/01/2014
Assignment 2: 2,500 words
Word Count: 2,500
Module Leader: Dr Karen Evans
Student I.D. 200187509
What, if anything, has the discipline of criminology learned from the inclusion of a gendered perspective? In order to whether the discipline of criminology has learned anything from the inclusion of a gendered perspective, this essay will outline historical criminological discourses, addressing key perspectives that differentiate men and women based on biological make-up. This essay will focus on early criminological theorists need to prove criminology as a science, ignoring social implications such as class, gender and ethnicity and their relativity to crime and victimisation. This essay will go on to demonstrate how the inclusion of gender has challenged classical malestream criminology by introducing subjective experience, illustrating how socially constructed ideals of masculine and feminine criminalities play a crucial role in understanding the gendered nature of crime and criminology. The inclusion of a gendered perspective to the discipline of criminology raised many challenges in terms of understanding inequality, subordination and othering of those considered to be outside of social norms associated with the white, middle class heterosexual male ideal. One of the most salient challenges has been that of knowledge production derived from malestream perspectives. Gelsthorpe (1990) argues, that in order for criminological theory to address crime as a social phenomenon, it is necessary to deconstruct traditional knowledge production methods and methodologies in favour of a reconstructed criminology that operates inclusively of all, irrespective of gender, class or ethnicity (Gelsthorpe, 1990). Chesney Lind & Pasco (2003) claim that when classical criminology does consider female criminality and victimisation, it is done so as an adage to criminological theory, and as such, becomes minimalized, locating women and girls as peripheral to the study of male crime (Chesney Lind & Pasco, 2003). On exploring classical, and in many instances, contemporary criminological theory, what becomes apparent is the relative absence of women in all areas, from knowledge production, policy making, law enforcement, and criminal activity and as victims of crime. Naffine (2003), coins this well proposing the ‘Man question’, arguing that criminology and criminal law are male-centred, something goes undisguised by the use of gender neutral language. Mackinnon (1991) claims that it in theorizing from a gender neutral perspective, women’s experience of crime is thus muted by male dominated norms (MacKinnon, 1991). It is on this basis that Naffine (2003) suggests criminal law and criminology are perverse in nature, projecting universal ideals and attitudes that exclude women and ignore cultural and intellectual difference of men (Naffine, 2003). Theories on crime and deviance date back to mid-18th century social commentaries in their attempts to consolidate an understanding of criminal law and development of an adequate penal system. According to Shore (2005), it was during this period that commentators such as Jeremy Bentham, Henry & John Fielding and John Howard, were mainly concerned with problematic social phenomena such as prostitution, youth delinquency and policing of the working class male. Shore (2005) argues that these commentaries were not concerned with understanding why crime occurs; rather that their interests lay in measures of controlling socially undesirable individuals Shore (2005). Studies of crime and victimisation, in terms of men and women’s involvement, have historically documented statistical evidence to suggest that women are less likely than men to commit crime. Naffine (2003) suggests that the majority of women and men may never appear in...


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