chapter  6
13 Pages

Masculinities and crime

WithJames W. Messerschmidt, Stephen Tomsen

This chapter provides an overview of key features of criminological literature regarding masculinity and crime, as well as some of the significant empirical studies. It describes the evident strengths of "masculinities" paradigm in criminology. The chapter shows the pitfalls of any gender-centric analysis of criminality that could overlook a skewed criminalization process that frequently targets and punishes men and boys from disadvantaged and marginal social settings. Masculinities are linked intricately with struggles for social power that occur between men and women and among different men but they vary and intersect importantly with other dimensions of inequality. Research within the new masculinities approach has studied the experience of confrontational violence by tracing the role of victimization in establishing power relations between men and the mixed effects on victims that both undermine and reinforce conventional ideas of masculinity. Criminalization is a common strategy in a contemporary era of social movement activism toward crime that may dovetail with punitive law and order politics.