Criminology, gender, and risk: the dilemmas of Northern theorising for Southern responses to intimate partner violence

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Criminology’s unitary, unifying and gendered embrace of risk is rooted in Northern theorising. This understanding of risk not only takes its toll on the discipline; it also has consequences for the practices associated with risk: risk assessment. Such practices reflect a range of different assumptions that silence women’s everyday experiences of violence, silence culture, and contribute to the construction of all women as fearing and vulnerable subjects. In particular the policies and practices of risk and risk assessment as responses to violence against women continue to travel across the globe with scant regard for the shaky foundations on which they are based and, by implication, their relevance for other settings. This paper explores the nature of the shaky conceptual foundations of risk assessment to reflect on the problems and possibilities for more locally nuanced and culturally sensitive responses to violence against women demanded by the agenda of Southern criminology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Risk
  • risk assessment
  • Southern criminology
  • Northern theorising
  • violence against women

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