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  1. 1. Crime and masculinities
  2. 2. Why do men commit crime? BIG QUESTION: What is it about being male that leads men to offend?
  3. 3. Masculinity and Crime • Masculinity = ? • Those characteristics which are associated with being a man e.g. Earning the money, heterosexual, being tough, unstoppable sex machine?
  4. 4. Explaining male crime: male roles and masculinity • Bob Connell Normative masculinity= the socially approved idea of what masculinity is. • Connell argued that normative masculinity is so prized that men struggle to live up to its expectations. • He believes the idea of masculinity is not something natural, but is something that males achieve as an ‘accomplishment’ and is constantly being worked at. • More powerful males will achieve their masculinity in different ways and contexts from less powerful males. • The example is given of businessmen who express their power through control in the workplace and less successful men who express power through violence at home or in the street.
  5. 5. James Messerschmidt Crime and masculinities • He says that young men want to conform to the dominant form of masculinity which he called ‘hegemonic masculinity’. It is the idealised form which is: ‘defined through work in the paid labour market, the subordination of women, hetrosexism and the uncontrollable sexuality of men’. This is the form of masculinity that most men aim to accomplish –it is prized and prestigious
  6. 6. Messerschmidt • Arguing that crime and deviance are resources different men use to accomplish the prestigious hegemonic masculinity • Depending on their status and class position different men attempt to accomplish this in different ways 1 Young middle class males are usually able to demonstrate some form of masculinity through success at school or college. However this comes at a price- subordination to teachers. Some assert their masculinity outside of school through vandalism, theft, heavy drinking etc.
  7. 7. Messerschmidt Crime, masculinities and youth 2 White working class young men are less likely to be successful in education and their masculinity is constructed around physical aggression and anti-social behaviour 3 Working class young men from ethnic minority backgrounds with little chance of academic masculinity seek to assert their masculinity in street gangs.
  8. 8. Messerschmidt Social class and masculinities 4 Even the middle class who have the means to accomplish hegemonic masculinity use crime to express masculinity. Messerschmidt argues that white collar crime can be explained by it being a way of accomplishing masculinity as being seen as an assertive, risk taking, aggressive male.
  9. 9. Criticisms of Messerschmidt/Connell 1. Circular argument: masculinity explains male crimes because they are crimes committed by males 2. Over predicts crime. For example why do only a minority of men from all social classes and ethnic backgrounds feel the need to assert masculinity through crime? 3. Do all men want to aspire to an idea of hegemonic masculinity? 4. He uses the idea of masculinity to explain all crimes. Is this stretching it too far?
  10. 10. Accomplishing masculinity In each box, list examples of ways in which different groups of males ‘accomplish’ masculinity. Middle-class males Lower-class males Work and success Wealth and income Domination of females Sexuality
  11. 11. Jack Katz (1988) • Katz: The Seduction of Crime POSTMODERN PERSPECTIVE • Katz (1988) argues that most of criminology has ignored the importance that the pursuit of pleasure has on people committing crime. • Katz argues that by understating the thrills that breaking the law provides, we can begin to understand why males commit crime. • He uses the examples of armed robbery, football hooliganism and the use of drugs and alcohol to show this. • Most youths have an identity crisis in a time of boredom and crisis – this can be resolved in criminal activity • Katz’s work was heavily influenced by the work of Matza who looked at the idea of delinquency and drift. (young men drift in and out of crime at certain parts of their lives).
  12. 12. We are going to watch a clip from Football Factory – it is very violent and the language is very colourful • It is your job to evaluate whose explanation is better for what you see – Katz or Messerschmidt / Connell?