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In what ways has feminism and postmodernism criticized criminology

In what ways has feminism and postmodernism criticized criminology?

In my assignment I will discuss liberal and radical feminism in particular and I will outline the concerns of feminist criminology and how it has criticized male stream criminology. I will then outline the main features of post modernism and its critique of the attempt to be scientific about crime. Finally I will evaluate the various criticisms.

There are different group of feminists who all have observed that men are the dominant groups in society, and also have looked at the fact that privileged men make and enforce rules to women. This project from studentcentral.co.uk

Post modernity is a challenge to rationality, reason and science as the dominant forms of social explanation.[1]

Feminism is a large body of social, political and philosophical thought that does not feature importantly in controversial criminological writing. 'However,' it has been shown that study of women and crime is a small branch of the discipline of criminology. It has been said that feminism is about women and criminology is about men. Rather than being treated as integral to the analysis of crime, gender is treated as a 'specialist' topic.[2] I will now consider in my essay how feminism and post modernity have criticized criminology.

Questions have been put forward by feminists about the scientific methods deployed by criminologists and also their orthodox approach to the nature of knowledge. Crime statistics have shown sexual differences from a large scale, from fraud to property crime, from major to minor crimes. Crime is something, which is expected to be done by men and not women. Edward's[3] has noted that criminologists spend a lot of time studying men.coec ecr seececw orec eck inec foec ec.

Women have been seen to be more law abiding, feminists have challenged this. However statistics have shown that not all women are law abiding. The idea about researching women's lives might provide the discipline with powerful insights into human behavior has not yet been considered. The fact that women have been neglected in mainstream criminology has skewed criminological thinking; it has stopped criminologists seeing the sex of their subjects because men have taken up all of the area.[4]

Feminism is a collection of different theoretical perspectives which all explain the oppression of women in a different way. I will now look at a number of modern varieties of feminism.

Liberal feminists have looked at aspects such as individual rights and freedoms that were that were central to the rise and consideration of the modern societies in the 18th and 19th centuries. Subordination of women is analyzed as part of a review of wider social structures and inequalities. However the main concern is to put discrimination in social practice, especially in the public sphere and to increase rights of women to equal those of men through the process of legal reform. This perspective has been criticized for its incapacity to confront the deep-rooted levels of gender inequality. Failure to challenge male values has been identified and the solutions offered to some extent are superficial or limited. Also the legacy of sex discrimination and equal pay legislation are the influence of Liberal feminism.coaa aar seaaaaw oraa aak inaa foaa aa.

Radical feminism came about in the 1970's and it focuses on the importance of patriarchy and the hierarchical relations between men and the solidarity between them, which helps them to control women. (Hartman, 1981)[5]. 'Personal is Political', is a slogan used to identify the basis of women's oppression in personal relationships and private lives. Radical feminists have also looked at the issues such as reproductive freedom, pornography, domestic violence and child abuse. They have been criticized for there biological determinism, which is the belief that by nature all men are the same and all women are the same. It has also been criticized that patriarchy is an all-convincing universal principal, which operates in the same way in all places at all times. Jaggar, (1983)[6] said that... "It fails to recognize differences in the experiences of women across time and space accounting for class and ethnic differences".

Marxist feminists have argued that subordination of women is in the capitalist exploitation of their domestic role. According to Beechey, (1977)[7], Marxist feminists have observed "the existence of a dominant ideology that presents women as primary carers within the domestic sphere and which is used to explain low wages, low status and part time jobs, and, in turn, is used to deny women the right to economic independence".[8] Brugel, (1978)[9], believes women are a reserve army of labor, when the needs of capitalism require them then they are drawn into workforce and then also easily rejected when there is surplus labor. The have been criticized for their overuse of economic explanations of women's oppressions and for not examining the complexity of family relationships. Tong, (1988)[10], believes that although there is an increasing critique of the Marxist feminist, there are more and more women busy in the market economy.

Social feminism gives a synthesis of the radical and feminism perspectives saying that both capitalist and patriarchal systems run a part in the subordination of women. 'Dual System Theory' sees the systems of capitalism and patriarchy as separate but believe that both systems are encouraging systems of oppression.coec ecr seececw orec eck inec foec ec.

Recently 'Unified System Theorists' developed unifying concepts e.g. Jaggar (1983)[11], he identified the concept of 'alienation', which includes a theoretical synthesis of Marxist, radical, and liberal feminist thought. This perspective has been criticized by black feminists for not looking at experiences different women have.

Black feminism has looked at structures of domination in the personal, cultural and institutional levels and experiences of the lives of black women. It has been identified that race, class and gender format the reason of black women's oppression. Visit coursework dc in dc fo dc for dc more coursework dc Do dc not dc redistribute

All these perspectives show the reason of women's oppression and solutions to it. Black feminism and post modernist feminism have provided critiques for other feminist perspectives. Feminist perspectives have argued that 'traditional explanations of crime and criminal behavior are disfigured because of the focus on criminality of males and the invisibility and marginalisation of women and girls' (Gelsthorpe and Morris)[12].

Early writings of feminists in criminology were concerned about and said that women had been left out of scientific and criminological research, which resulted in a distorted science. When women's behavior was analyzed, prejudice, ignorance and misinformation was seen[13]e.g. Bertrand (1927)[14], Heidensohn (1968)[15] and Klein (1976)[16], are from amongst the very few first feminists who looked at the neglect of women in studies of crime and the stereotypes of women in those studies. Visit coursework dc in dc fo dc for dc more coursework dc Do dc not dc redistribute

However Merton's[17] 'Anomie Theory' shows that individuals who do not achieve their desires in legitimate way they get frustrated and turn to crime.

It has been seen that," Feminism retains a significant normative voice, asserting its entitlement to appeal to the languages of justice and equality before the law and human rights, it will also assert its entitlement to argue for a re-interpretation of those concepts in terms which better address subsisting issues of sexual domination and unfairness[18]"... As we have seen feminism and post modernity have criticized criminology in various different ways.

In 1950, statistics on women's crime were challenged by 'Otto Pollak', he said they are misleading and that women's crime is under recorded for which he believed were two main reasons, firstly the fact that the magistrate's courts and the justice system were dominated by men because they had been taught to be chivalrous, also the fact that courts were lenient with female offenders and secondly he said that women were more deceitful then men so they were expert in hiding their crimes. Pollak proved that by talking about their ability to fake orgasms and to conceal menstruation[19].

Through social arrangements feminists have argued that patriarchy is still maintained today, which indirectly secures men's interest's, for example giving them market advantages and that too before and above women. 'Heller and Feher' (1988) [20]say that,.. Feminism was and has remained, the greatest and most decisive social resolution of modernity"... However criminological fear is that the new women will be the worst of both worlds[21].

'Lombroso and Ferrero', (1885)[22], said, "...natural passivity of women deprived them of the initiative to break the law". The female criminal was described as unnatural, masculine and not normal women. Early feminists for have criticized traditional criminology assuming that women were controlled by their biology and were not capable of rational action. Another writer 'Leonard', (1983)[23], argued that, "theoretical criminology is sexist"... He said it unintentionally focused on activities, interests and values of men and ignored a comparative review of women. In criminal cases, women have used 'hormone imbalances' as a defense. Also another example of this is the case of infacide where postnatal depression excuse is given as a defense. Feminists have argued that although this may benefit, it however shows that women are driven by their biology and their social, economical and political factors that analyze their lives have not been examined[24].

Feminist empiricism tries to develop a scientific understanding of women as the missing subjects of criminology and looks at their lives as offenders and victims. It also looks a stereotyping of women, which represented the official wisdom on women in criminology and also in the Criminal Justice System. Anyhow objections are raised t the empirical claims made about women even though the claims are based on evidence. Carol Smart's book, 'Women Crime and Criminology: A Feminist Critique', (1977)[25], is still the most influential book. Studies have tried to prove the thesis that 'women are Liberation' causes the crime in women. Feminist empiricists have also looked at women as victims of crime and their experiences as victims and survivors of violent men then as the victims of the Criminal Justice System. Feminists have also looked at the treatment of female offender by the agents of the law. Researchers of 'Meda Chesney Lind' have identified continuing presence of discrimination against women[26]. Feminists have also observed the complex effects of class, race and age on the sentencing decisions.

It has been seen that women are not only judged as good or bad mothers but by they're other aspects of identity. Feminist empiricism has looked at the relationship between women, crime and he Criminal Justice System. Many types of feminists have put forward criticisms. Some have objected to its tendency to treat the women's group as self-evident so therefore problematic[27].

Feminism as a political force has always been involved in struggles over the law. Mainly because it has not conceived the fulfillment of its objectives a matter for some future and crucial day it has been shown that it is criminology's failure to deal with female criminality and it is not the concept of criminality that is at fault. Traditional criminology, starting from the nineteenth century to the present day has observed criminality in two different ways that are oblivion and error. Oblivion establishes the charge that, like other areas of research, criminology has also left out women and has reacted to oppression with amnesia, 'what has been hidden from history is not likely to be found by the traditional historian.' Women establish a great non-appearance from the documented, the researched and the surveyed syllable of the visible. Also what has not been ignored has been in error is what has been suggested by some researchers.[28]

'However,' a lot of feminist work can be identified which questions criminology. There is an early critique of criminological theory and of criminal justice practices. The neglect of female criminality by a generally male profession of criminology is one of its determining features. Main strands in the progress of female perspectives in relation to criminology have included explanations about discriminatory practices. Heidensohn (1985) determines and concludes her review of women, crime and criminal justice by indicating for a return to the sociology of gender and the use of insights from other studies of women's oppression as well[29].

The idea of post modern involves claims that modernist features of society are under challenge, this can be seen in the area of culture. In economic terms, in favor of flexible working patterns and a flexible labor force, most modernity has rejected mass production-line technology. However in political terms, post modernity is complex and is difficult to group in traditional terms[30].

It can be seen in the early 19th century that the men ordered the labor of partners and treated them as if they are property. Also the effects of biological reproduction placed women in the worst position, there was little birth control, high death rates in pregnancy and childbirth. Women had the worst pay in employment also. Women's participation in the public sphere was limited and women only got employment as in domestic jobs such as governess, home teachers etc.[31]

It can be seen that philosophical thought of equality and universality was involved in early modernity. Two processes tried to allow participation in late-modernity. Firstly the increased participation in the public sphere and secondly the changing forms of gender relations in the domestic sphere, both are influenced by technological changes which demand various patterns of skill in different forms of production. In domestic relations it has been seen that men control women because of the fact that they had a right in disposition over the labor and children of women,' a right existent in fact and Law'[32].

Criminology applies to any kind of study concerned with crime and criminal justice. Postmodernism is a bit like criminology showed as a loose collection of themes, rather than as coherent philosophy in it self. The themes that seem to be important are, firstly the theme of deconstruction is an important theme in post modern and allied philosophy. Secondly the denial of coherence and unity in the world, both in philosophical understanding that there is no 'grand narrative' of truth or essence behind the image of chaos and contingency. Thirdly the theme of the nature of freedom is important.

Criminology is more concerned with the processes where particular types of acts become criminalized rather than the categories with which they can then be described. Post modernization has showed that formal criminal justice institutions operate in increasingly informal ways. 'However,' important characteristics of such a 'post modern' system of informal controls are that it takes and avoids discourses of rights and due process through the generalized discrimination of populations, decentralized and non-focused coercion. Foucault is on of the most influential of the postmodern philosophers. In his research he said that the prison system allows the upper class to continue the subjugation of the lower class and that the prison system effectively jails, isolates and economically controls the most active members of the lower class[33].

Feminism and post modernity have criticized criminology in many ways. They have argued that women are seen as irrational, emotive and intellectually inferior, are however likely to commit crime that has rational motives and their crime is seen as predominantly rational and it is men who get involved in criminal behavior and riots, etc.

'However,' it has also been shown that criminology is still a discipline dominated by men and is about men studying criminal men and women only represent a special part in it. Also early writings of feminists in criminology showed that women had been left out of scientific and criminological research that resulted in a distorted science. There is an early critique of criminological theory and of criminal justice practithe suspects are male, which means that agents in the Criminal Justice system may see some woman suspects as less criminal and less recidivist then men. Some writers have argued that some woman suspects and offenders are seen as to lack criminal agency. The idea of post modern involves administration of trials, sentencing, the penal apparatuses, and the deployment of para-legal knowledge's and practices, in such a way that it can hardly be recognized to criminology.[34]

Bibliography

Ÿ Calen, P. and Collision, M, 'Radical issues in Criminology', (1980), Oxford

Ÿ Maguire, M, Morgan, R and Reiner, R, 'The Oxford Handbook on Criminology'- 2nd Ed, (1997).

Ÿ Morrison. W, 'Theoretical Criminology: from modernity to postmodernism' - (1995) Cavendish Publishing Ltd.

Ÿ Nicolson D. And Bibbings, L, 'Feminist Perspectives on Criminal Law', (2000) Cavendish Publishing Ltd.

Ÿ N.Naffine, 'Feminism and Criminology', (1997), Blackwell Publishers Ltd.

Ÿ Pond, R, 'Introduction to Criminology', (1999)- Waterside Press

Ÿ R.H.Burke, 'An introduction to Criminological Theory' (2001)- Willan Publishing.

Studies

Ÿ Edward's, A.R, 'Sex/gender, Sexism and Criminal Justice: Some Theoretical Considerations; International Journal of the Sociology of Law 17 (1989)

Ÿ Jaggar, A. (1983), 'Feminist Politics and Human Nature', New Jersey: Rowman and Littlefield.

Ÿ Beechey, V. (1977), 'Some Notes on Female Wage Labour in Capitalist Production', Capital and Class (autumn): 44-66.

Ÿ Brugel, I. (1978), 'Women as a Reserve Army of Labour: A note on recent British experience', Feminist Review, 3:12-23.

Ÿ Gelsthorpe, L and Morris, A. (1988) 'Feminism and Criminology in Britain', British journal of Criminology.

Ÿ Bertrand, M. (1976),'The Myth of Sexual Equality before the Law', in proceedings of the fifth Research conferences on delinquency and Community, Montreal: Quebec Society of Criminology.

Ÿ Heidensohn, F. (1968) ' The Deviance of Women: A Critique and an Enquiry'; British Journal of Criminology, 19(2): 160-76.

Ÿ Klein, D. (1973-1976),'The Aetiology of Female Crime: A Review of the Literature', in L. Crities (eds).

Ÿ Wootten, B. (1959), 'Social Science and Social Pathology', London: Allen and Unwin.

Ÿ Smart, C. (1977), 'Women, Crime and Criminology': A Feminist Critique, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London.

Ÿ Merton, R.K. (1938), 'Social Structure and Anomie', American Sociological Review.

Ÿ Heller, A. And Feher, F. (1988), 'The Post Modern Political Condition', Cambridge: Polity Press.

Ÿ Lombroso, C. And Ferrero, W. (1885), 'The Female Offender', London: Unwin.

Ÿ Leonard, E. (1983) 'Women, Crime and Society', London: Longmans

Ÿ Chesney-Lind, Meda, (1986), 'Women and Crime: The Female Offender'

Ÿ Tong, R. (1988), 'Feminist Thought': A Comprehensive Introduction:' London: Routledge

Words: 2648.


[1]R.H.Burke, 'An introduction to Criminological Theory' (2001)- Willan Publishing.

[2]N.Naffine, 'Feminism and Criminology', (1997), Blackwell Publishers Ltd.

[3]Edward's, A.R, 'Sex/gender, Sexism and Criminal Justice: Some Theoretical Considerations; International Journal of the Sociology of Law 17 (1989)

[4]See footnote 2.

[5]Edward's, A.R, 'Sex/gender, Sexism and Criminal Justice: Some Theoretical Considerations; International Journal of the Sociology of Law 17 (1989)

[6]Jaggar, A. (1983), 'Feminist Politics and Human Nature', New Jersey: Rowman and Littlefield.

[7]Beechey, V. (1977), 'Some Notes on Female Wage Labour in Capitalist Production', Capital and Class (autumn): 44-66.

[8]See footnote 1.

[9]Brugel, I. (1978), 'Women as a Reserve Army of Labour: A note on recent British experience', Feminist Review, 3:12-23.

[10]Tong, R. (1988), 'Feminist Thought': A Comprehensive Introduction:' London: Routledge.

[11]See footnote 7.

[12]Gelsthorpe, L and Morris, A. (1988) 'Feminism and Criminology in Britain', British journal of Criminology.

[13]See footnote 2.

[14]Bertrand, M. (1976),'The Myth of Sexual Equality before the Law', in proceedings of the fifth Research conferences on delinquency and Community, Montreal: Quebec Society of Criminology.

[15]Heidensohn, F. (1968) ' The Deviance of Women: A Critique and an Enquiry'; British Journal of Criminology, 19(2): 160-76.

[16]Klein, D. (1973-1976),'The Aetiology of Female Crime: A Review of the Literature', in L. Crities (eds).

[17]Merton, R.K. (1938), 'Social Structure and Anomie', American Sociological Review.

[18]Nicolson D. And Bibbings, L, 'Feminist Perspectives on Criminal Law', (2000) Cavendish Publishing Ltd.

[19]Pond, R, 'Introduction to Criminology', (1999)- Waterside Press.

[20]Heller, A. And Feher, F. (1988), 'The Post Modern Political Condition', Cambridge: Polity Press.

[21]See footnote 14.

[22]Lombroso, C. And Ferrero, W. (1885), 'The Female Offender', London: Unwin.

[23]Leonard, E. (1983) 'Women, Crime and Society', London: Longmans.

[24]See footnote 1.

[25]See footnote 20.

[26]Chesney-Lind, Meda, (1986), 'Women and Crime: The Female Offender'.

[27]See footnote 2.

[28]Carlen, P. and Collison, M, 'Radical issues in Criminology', (1980), Oxford.

[29]Maguire, M, Morgan, R and Reiner, R, 'The Oxford Handbook on Criminology'- 2nd Ed, (1997).

[30]See footnote 1.

[31]Morrison. W, 'Theoretical Criminology: from modernity to postmodernism' - (1995) Cavendish Publishing Ltd.

[32]See footnote 14.

[33] www.google.com- 'postmodernism and criminology'.

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