Critical Realism and Feminist Criminology: Shall the Twain Ever Meet?


This article assesses the commonalities and divergences between critical realist criminology and feminist criminology. Using Roger Matthews’ (2014) construction of Critical Realism as discussed in his book, Realist Criminology, the article first notes that critical realists have largely overlooked or dismissed feminist criminology, despite the potential synergy between the two perspectives. The article then identifies three major areas – (1) epistemology and research methods; (2) a critique of essentialism; and (3) commitment to culturally competent and client/community-centered interventions – in which the perspectives share similarities, while distinguishing the differences in each area as well. The article concludes with an invitation for dialogue between critical realists and feminist criminologists.

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Published: 2016-09-01
Pages:41 to 52
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How to Cite
Renzetti, C. (2016) “Critical Realism and Feminist Criminology: Shall the Twain Ever Meet?”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 5(3), pp. 41-52. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.v5i3.325.

Author Biography

University of Kentucky
 United States
Claire Renzetti is a leading internationally renowned scholar in the field of gender studies and violence against women. She is Editor of Violence Against Women, Professor of Sociology, University of Kentucky, United States.