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

By Robbin S. Ogle; Susan Jacobs | Go to book overview

Chapter 1

An Overview

INTRODUCTION

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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