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Explain how Feminists apply related ideas and concepts to the study of the family and the study of crime and deviance.

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Introduction

A2 SOCIOLOGY: CRIME AND DEVIANCE MODULE Explain how Feminists apply related ideas and concepts to the study of the family and the study of crime and deviance. (30 marks) New approaches to crime and deviance are partly a reaction to the short - comings of previous approaches, partly a reflection of changing academic and political priorities, partly a response to changing fashions. Previous approaches have neglected certain social categories. In the case of gender (and ethnicity) this neglect has now ended and research in these areas have developed. Frances Heidensohn wrote (1989) 'Gender is on the agenda'. She is one of the most influential feminist sociologists of crime. Yet only in the last twenty years, has the simultaneous neglect of women and distorted analysis of the female offender been challenged. In the 'pre-history' of gender and crime, before the emergence of the feminist perspective women were largely invisible in sociological research. In the past much of the research on crime and deviance has been a case of college boys hanging out with street corner boys! ...read more.

Middle

For men have more opportunities to commit offences. Feminist research has also shown that the private domain of the home is 'even more male-dominated than public street crime' (Heidensohn). This may be due to the crucial significance of the private domain to men's sense of dominance. For feminists, the family is patriarchal, a male dominated institution whose main purpose is to serve the interests of men. Within the family, girls are socialised differently from boys. There are different sets of expectations for the two sexes. Female socialisation still tends to emphasise attractiveness, softness, caring and to discourage competitiveness and aggressive behaviour, which is tolerated and even encouraged in boys. The family home is the centre of women's lives; the role of the housewife and mother still confines many women to the home for at least part of their lives. Women are expected to take the primary responsibility for the care of the children, and those who fail to be good wives and mothers face disapproval. Men are not subject to the same expectations and sanctions. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, it is less clear why women who do commit crime do so. Sometimes the crimes can be related to conventional female roles and responsibilities, prostitution to being the provider of sex for a man and shoplifting to the responsibility for food and clothing (this perhaps is or partly due to the type of family you live in i.e. single parent household). Others may involve women who are under less strict social role than most women are. Therefore, feminism has used the concept of patriarchy to analyse many areas of social life, including the family and crime and deviance. This focuses on how men have dominated women through control of areas of social life. Within the family females have been socialised into an acceptance of roles and of positions within society, this decreases the likelihood of their being involved in some types of crime. Men have controlled swomen's behaviour through domination of areas of public life. Women's lives are still focussed around the home, pubs; streets at night are still male dominated areas. The big question awaiting the sociology of crime, however, is not what makes women's crime rates so low but why are men's so high. S. UPPAL 21.02.03 1 ...read more.

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