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International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy

Girls, Crime and Violence: Toward a Feminist Theory of Female Violence

Abstract

Rises recorded for girls’ violence in countries like Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and United States have been hotly contested. One view is these rising rates of violence are an artefact of new forms of policy, policing, criminalisation and social control over young women. Another view is that young women may indeed have become more violent as they have increasingly participated in youth subcultural activities involving gangs and drugs, and cyber-cultural activities that incite and reward girls’ violence. Any comprehensive explanation will need to address how a complex interplay of cultural, social, behavioural, and policy responses contribute to these rises. This article argues that there is no singular cause, explanation or theory that accounts for the rises in adolescent female violence, and that many of the simple explanations circulating in popular culture are driven by an anti-feminist ideology. By concentrating on females as victims of violence and very rarely as perpetrators, feminist criminology has for the most part ducked the thorny issue of female violence, leaving a discursive space for anti-feminist sentiment to reign. The article concludes by arguing the case for developing a feminist theory of female violence.Rises recorded for girls’ violence in countries like Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and United States have been hotly contested. One view is these rising rates of violence are an artefact of new forms of policy, policing, criminalisation and social control over young women. Another view is that young women may indeed have become more violent as they have increasingly participated in youth subcultural activities involving gangs and drugs, and cyber-cultural activities that incite and reward girls’ violence. Any comprehensive explanation will need to address how a complex interplay of cultural, social, behavioural, and policy responses contribute to these rises. This article argues that there is no singular cause, explanation or theory that accounts for the rises in adolescent female violence, and that many of the simple explanations circulating in popular culture are driven by an anti-feminist ideology. By concentrating on females as victims of violence and very rarely as perpetrators, feminist criminology has for the most part ducked the thorny issue of female violence, leaving a discursive space for anti-feminist sentiment to reign. The article concludes by arguing the case for developing a feminist theory of female violence.

Published:
Pages:63 to 79
Section: Articles

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Author Biography

Queensland University of Technology
Australia Australia
Professor Carrington is the Head of the School of Justice in the Law Faculty at QUT and Vice Chair of the Division of Critical Criminology, ASC and Chief Editor for The International Journal for Crime and Justice. Kerry is a leading expert in the field of youth justice in Australia. Her contributions spanning 20 years include Offending Girls (1993), (based on a PhD winner of the 1991 Jean Martin Award) and Offending Youth (2009). Her other books include Crime, Justice and Social Democracy: International Perspectives; Policing The Rural Crisis, Who Killed Leigh Leigh?, Critical Criminology, and Travesty Miscarriages of Justice. Professor Carrington has an extensive record of externally funded research activity, is an internationally leading expert in criminology and sociology, and was recently awarded the 2012 Allen Austin Bartholomew Award presented by the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology. From 2003 to 2005 she worked for a short time in Australian Parliament as a senior researcher and then as the Head of the Children, Youth and Families Unit at AIHW.
Open Access Journal
ISSN 2202-8005