Self-Defense and Battered Women Who Kill: A New Framework

Self-Defense and Battered Women Who Kill: A New Framework

Self-Defense and Battered Women Who Kill: A New Framework

Self-Defense and Battered Women Who Kill: A New Framework

Synopsis

Battering relationships often escalate to a point where the battered woman commits homicide. When such homicides occur, attention usually is focused on the final violent encounter; however, Ogle and Jacobs argue, while that act is the last homicidal encounter, it is not the only one. This important study argues that the battering relationship is properly understood as a long-term homicidal process that, if played out to the point that contrition dissipates, is very likely to result in the death of one of the parties. In that context, Ogle and Jacobs posit a social interaction perspective for understanding the situational, cultural, social, and structural forces that work toward maintaining the battering relationship and escalating it to a homicidal end. This book details this theory and explains how to apply it in a trial setting.

Excerpt

Since this book provides a new theoretical perspective on battering and its escalation to homicide, it seems reasonable to begin with a brief discussion of our view on theory and how it is developed. Criminologists have long been trained to develop and use the most parsimonious explanation possible for any phenomenon. In our opinion, this has led to an overreliance on simplistic or partial explanations developed out of the quantitative analysis of limited individualized variables. But the social world is very complex. This often makes theory look like a leap away from reality rather than an explanation for it. For that reason, laymen look at criminological theory and question its applicability to the real world. Theory should not be confined only to parameters previously examined in quantitative research. Just because we do not presently know exactly how to test something quantitatively does not mean that we should resist the progression of theoretical ideas. Social scientists such as Durkheim, Weber, Parsons, Sutherland, Merton, and Foucault have demonstrated repeatedly the value of thinking beyond our current ability to test. Clearly, quantitative analysis changes on a consistent basis as well. New theoretical ideas challenge us as criminologists to develop new quantitative and qualitative methods that bring us closer to understanding our social world.

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