The Role of Emotions for Female Co-Offenders

Barlow, Charlotte (2019) The Role of Emotions for Female Co-Offenders. In: Emotions and Crime. Routledge, London. ISBN 9781138497887

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There is a growing body of literature which highlights that women follow distinct and often gendered pathways into crime. Violence, coercion and love within intimate relationships have been increasingly acknowledged as motivating factors for female offending behaviour. However, there is a lack of understanding of the ways in which emotions, such as love and fear, influence co-offending women’s pathways into crime. This chapter will highlight the significance of emotions for female co-offenders, particularly when they are in an intimate, violent, exploitative and/ or controlling relationship with their partner/ co-offender. Female offenders more broadly are typically viewed to be wholly independent, rational agents or as lacking control in relation to their offending behaviour and thus having their agency completely denied. However, this dichotomy is problematic, as it fails to consider how emotional dimensions of co-offending relationships may influence offending behaviour and experiences of agency. The importance of acknowledging such emotions in social context when attempting to understand such women’s offending ‘choices’ will be explored. Collectively, this chapter will highlight that emotions and offending behaviour are inextricably connected for female co-offenders. Such emotions need to be acknowledged and understood alongside structural factors if criminologists are to fully understand such women’s motivations for offending.

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This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge/CRC Press in Emotions and Crime: Towards a Criminology of Emotions 2019, available online:
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22 Jun 2019 01:03
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13 Oct 2023 00:02