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Female crime

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CONTEXT Although female crime is a topic that is not often researched - especially by male sociologists, there a number of studies relating to this area of crime I am interested in. Early attempts to explain female crime was based on physiological or biological theories. Lombroso, an Italian criminologist in the 19th Century, attempted to explain female crime. He compared physical features of female criminals and non-criminals; for example he reported data comparing brains and skulls, the width of cheekbones and the size of jaws. Lombroso argued that instead of biology being the cause of female criminality, it actually prevents women from becoming a criminal. He said that women are not true, biological criminals, they break the law, but only occasionally and their crimes are not serious. Despite this, he did believe that a few women are born a criminal and tended to be more masculine than other women, they also tended to lack some of the natural female traits for example docility and sexual apathy. This study does not really help answer my objective of WHY women commit crime. ...read more.


These findings by Adler have helped me answer my objective of finding out WHY women commit crime. She argues that the change of behaviour of females is due to changes in society and that women are taking on roles which are traditionally linked with men, which in turn is the reason why they commit crime. From Adler's study, possible questions to ask in my questionnaire have risen. Questions such as, asking both males and females what sort of activities do they participate in during their free time and why. This would test whether females are taking on male roles, or whether there are no longer male or female roles. Although Adler has brought up the issue of changes in society and male roles being the reason for female criminality, it is debatable to whether it is relevant as it is out of date. The study is not entirely reliable either, as she has used official statistics as the basis of her research, which only counts for recorded crime. I personally think that despite the criticisms, that she does offer a reasonable and plausible explanation for why women commit crime. ...read more.


From this study, I have found that questions about socio-economic groups could be possible on my questionnaire, as it will allow me to determine myself whether female criminality is a class issue. Carlen only interviewed convicted women, who were working-class, I aim to avoid that in my own research as I feel that it will only make generalisations about the working- class without looking at the middle-class. The problem with Carlen's study is the same as with the other 2 study's, which is that it is out of date. She used a small sample of working-class women involved in quite serious crimes, so therefore generalistions are hard to make from her findings, making it less valid as it can not be applied to women who commit less serious offences. On the positive side, it is a detailed piece of research that provides a strong support for the view that criminal behaviour becomes more likely when social control breaks down in society. It is a plausible study that highlights the criminality of working-class women. Words: 1168 ...read more.

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