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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 164531 Find in a Library
Title: Gender Inequality and Criminalization: A Socialist Feminist Perspective on the Legal Social Control of Women (From Race, Gender, and Class in Criminology: The Intersection, P 29-48, 1996, Martin D Schwartz and Dragan Milovanovic, eds. -- See NCJ-164529)
Author(s): M J E Danner
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 20
Sponsoring Agency: Garland Publishing, Inc.
New York, NY 10003-3304
Sale Source: Garland Publishing, Inc.
19 Union Square
West Floor 8
New York, NY 10003-3304
United States of America
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter presents a socialist feminist perspective regarding women's crime rates across nations.
Abstract: Two precepts form the core of socialist feminism. First, the mode and relations of production and reproduction are inter- connected and inseparable; the sexual division of labor results in differences in the work performed by women and men. Second, socialist feminists recognize that gender, class, race/ethnicity, and nation interact in fundamental ways that result in important differences in life experiences for groups and persons. Specifically, most women live with fewer advantages than do most men within their class and ethnic group. Poor and ethnic minority women are especially vulnerable, because they may experience domination by men of their own class and ethnic group as well as by elite persons who may exercise their domination with impunity. The time is ripe for a new thesis, one rooted in the material reality of women's lives within social structures around the world. The proposed thesis is an alternative explanation of women's criminalization in the aggregate. The thesis addresses the rate of women's arrests and recognizes that criminalization is foremost a mechanism of social control. Mechanisms of social control maintain the existing social order to the benefit of the materially powerful in a society; the criminal law is the state's ultimate formal or legal mechanism of control. The criminal justice system assists in the maintenance of inequality through the process of criminalization, whereby the law is selectively applied in a manner detrimental to those groups and persons most disadvantaged in unequal relations. Thus, an inverse relationship exists between gender inequality in the distribution of socially valued resources and the rate of legal social control of women; where gender inequality is great, the criminalization of women is less than in places where gender inequality is less. Problems in empirical tests of this thesis are discussed. 5 notes and 56 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Class comparisons; Criminalization; Feminism; Gender issues; Race-crime relationships; Social organization
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