Writing Assignment Week 8

King 1 Writing Assignment Week 8: Gender, Crime, and Integrated Theories Amanda B. King Dept. of Criminal Justice CJ 325: Criminal Justice Theory Dr. Jon Bottema 16 July 2023
King 2 Writing Assignment Week 8: Gender, Crime, and Integrated Theories Feminist Criminology During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the feminist school of criminology emerged as a result of increasing discrimination and disregard for women in the field. In feminist criminology, the study of criminal behavior as it pertains to women is examined and explained. It includes a broad range of issues that women face within the criminal justice system and society. The feminist school of criminology emphasizes that the social roles of women are different from the roles of men, leading to different pathways toward deviance, crime, and victimization that are overlooked by other criminological theories (Hassan, 2020). In feminist criminology, there are two unspoken assumptions inherent in this perspective. Due to males' greater likelihood of engaging in criminal behavior than females, one might assume they are less important to the field than males. Second, mainstream criminology assumes that males and females are alike and that what works to explain male criminality will work equally well to explain female criminality. Feminist criminologists have, in particular, criticized the strain theory of Merton (1938) for its emphasis on economic goals and neglect of personal relationships. Merton argued that crime was largely the result of having the American dream as a goal but lacking opportunities to achieve this goal in a legitimate manner. Criminologists have argued that feminism contradicts Merton's theory. They pointed out that, although women were certainly more financially blocked than men, they committed far less crime (Belknap & Holsinger, 1997). Likewise, social learning and differential association theories disregard the gendered nature of peer relationships while focusing on peer attitudes and behaviors. In contrast
King 3 to male delinquency being strongly linked to having peers with delinquent behaviors and attitudes, female delinquency is much less closely linked to peer influence. Gender Ratio The gender ratio problem (why always and everywhere males commit more criminal acts than females) has been called the single most important fact that criminology theories must be able to explain. Despite decades of attempts, feminist criminology has been unable to achieve this because its conceptual and theoretical tools originate from a single discipline - sociology. Traditional explanations tended to focus on culture; Freda Adler proposed that as women entered nontraditional occupations and roles, the gender gap in crime would narrow. However, her theory lacks contemporary validation. Biosocial criminologists say that the gender ratio problem is only a problem if researchers refuse to consider biological factors that differentiate among individuals. They argue that if we admit that there is something about gender itself that is responsible for the observed differences, the problem is resolved. Bernard and Snipes Approach Theoretical integration is the process of joining ideas from two or more criminological theories into a single theoretical statement, often to provide a more complete and accurate explanation of crime or delinquent behavior (Krohn & Eassey, 2014). Bernard and Snipes assume that some individuals are more likely than others to engage in crime. They argue that physical appearance is never actually a cause of crime and so all such theories should be abandoned. They believe males are less likely to engage in crime than females. Bernard and Snipes also argue that the issue lies not in combining incompatible assumptions, but rather in what the underlying assumptions are. They claim that the underlying assumptions of the theories are not incompatible and therefore lead to the possibility for integrating these theories.
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