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NCJ Number: 69136 Find in a Library
Title: TOO DUMB TO KNOW BETTER - CACOGENIC FAMILY STUDIES AND THE CRIMINOLOGY OF WOMEN
Journal: CRIMINOLOGY  Volume:18  Issue:1  Dated:(MAY 1980)  Pages:3-25
Author(s): N F HAHN
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 23
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THREE TRAITS EMPHASIZED AS CHARACTERISTIC OF THE 'BAD WOMAN' WERE AMPLIFIED BY A SERIES OF STUDIES OF 'CACOGENIC' FAMILIES WHICH APPEARED BETWEEN 1874 AND 1929.
Abstract: MYTHOLOGISTS, CHURCH OFFICIALS, AND SOCIOLOGISTS, AS WELL AS OTHER CONTRIBUTORS TO THE IMAGERY OF THE BAD WOMAN, HAVE FREQUENTLY CHARACTERIZED SUCH A PERSON AS BEING IRRESOLUTE, PROMISCUOUS, AND RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DOWNFALL OF OTHERS, ESPECIALLY HER MATE AND CHILDREN. THE IMAGERY OF THE BAD WOMAN, DATING BACK TO EVE'S CORRUPTION OF ADAM, PROVIDED A SCAPEGOAT FOR SOCIAL PROBLEMS THAT COULD NOT OTHERWISE BE RESOLVED, AS WELL AS THE BASIS FOR SEVERAL PROMINENT THEORIES. FAMILY STUDY RESEARCH INVOLVED INVESTIGATION OF RELATED FAMILY GROUPS ACROSS A NUMBER OF GENERATIONS. THESE STUDIES RETOOLED THE BAD WOMAN'S IMAGE TO THE POINT THAT SHE BECAME A CRIMINAL AND A FOUNTAINHEAD OF SOCIAL DISEASE, RATHER THAN JUST AN IMMORAL INFLUENCE. FEAR OF THE CACOGENIC (GENETICALLY BAD) WOMAN LED TO ESTABLISHMENT OF SPECIAL INSTITUTIONS TO WHICH WOMEN SUSPECTED OF POTENTIAL LOOSENESS WERE CONSIGNED TO LIFE, AND IT CONTRIBUTED TO THE CREATION OF SEPARATE REFORMATORIES TO WHICH WAYWARD WOMEN WERE SENTENCED TO LENGTHY TERMS, SOMETIMES UP TO LIFE. IN ADDITION, FAMILY STUDIES PRESSED THE BAD WOMAN INTO A DISTINCTIVELY LOWER-CLASS MOLD; SHE BECAME A SYMBOLIC EXPLANATION OF WHY THE LOWER CLASSES WERE SO LOW. ALTHOUGH THE LAST OF THE FAMILY STUDIES WAS PUBLISHED IN 1926, VARIANTS OF THIS TYPE OF SOCIOLOGICAL LITERATURE CONTINUE TO APPEAR. A TABLE AND FOOTNOTES ARE INCLUDED. APPROXIMATELY 50 REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED)
Index Term(s): Females; Genetic influences on behavior; Nonbehavioral correlates of crime; Sex discrimination; Sociology; Women's correctional institutions
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=69136

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