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1 Feminist Criminology 3 (2006)

handle is hein.journals/femcrim1 and id is 1 raw text is: 

                                                                    Feinikt Criminology
                                                                      Vole 11 Number 1
                                                                        S nary 2006 3-5
                                                                    2006 Sage Publications
                                                                 Il0I 17115 0 5105282898
                                                                      hulp 1 ,_opub.com
Editorial                                                                    stedat
                                                                   http oni e.sagepub.com

T   he launching of a new journal raises the question of why this particular journal
     might be needed. This is certainly the case for Feminist Criminology, the official
journal of the Division on Women and Crime of the American Society of Criminology.
With  a plethora of criminology journals, why indeed do we need one more? And
equally important, just exactly what is feminist criminology? To answer these ques-
tions, a review of the history of feminist scholarship in criminology as well as of the
Division on Women   and Crime is needed.
   The second question, what is feminist criminology, should perhaps be addressed
first to more fully explain why this journal is needed. Realistically, it would be more
appropriate to refer to feminist criminologies, as there is no single theoretical perspec-
tive and no one methodology that dominate the field. Instead, feminist criminology is
the label applied to criminological research and theory that places women at the
center of the analyses.
   Prior to the late 1960s, most criminological theory was based on research focusing
on the behaviors and experiences of males. Thus, the study of crime became equated
with the study of male criminality. One has only to look at Hirschi's (1969) influential
Causes of Delinquency to confirm this. The logic used implies that the study of male
crime is sufficient to explain all crime. However, feminist criminologists began to
challenge this androcentric dominance of criminology, arguing that to have a full
understanding of the causes and consequences of crime, one must incorporate not only
the male perspective but that of females as well. Otherwise, the picture is incomplete.
Unfortunately, the majority of criminological research in the top-tier journals still
either ignores women or treats gender as a control variable (Sharp & Hefley, 2004).
   My  first inkling of this problem occurred in graduate school when I was introduced
to Sampson  and Laub's (1993) life-course explanation of control theory. As I read
about the ways in which salient work and valued marital relationships could act as
control mechanisms, I asked the question, But is the same really true for women? Or
would  children be more salient and, thus, more likely to cause women to desist from
criminal activity? Because the criminologists in my program were mainstream in their
approach, I had not yet been introduced to feminist criminology. However, the idea of
this journal was born at that time.
   Theoretical explanation of female criminality is just one area that feminist crimi-
nologists have examined. Conviction, sentencing, and the effects of sentencing are
gendered  as well and as thus, are fodder for feminist criminology. Like theoretical
explanations of criminality, the study of responses to male crime cannot simply be
extended to females. Not only do different factors contribute to engaging in crime but


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