The strengths and limits of ‘doing gender’ for understanding street crime

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This paper is an engagement with Messerschmidt's structured action theory, and more generally with feminist criminologists’ applications of the concept ‘doing gender’ for understanding street crime. Specifically, I investigate the ways in which the attribution of gender difference and the near exclusive emphasis on normative practices has limited our use of the doing gender model in theorizing gender and crime. I discuss several avenues for enhancing this approach, including the imperative to avoid tautology, and suggestions for challenging gender dualism, investigating the import of social hierarchies, and conceptualizing the complexities of agency and social practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-460
Number of pages28
JournalTheoretical Criminology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


  • James Messerschmidt
  • crime as structured action
  • doing gender
  • feminist theory
  • gender dualism


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