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Masculinities, Persistence, and Desistance
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Criminology.
2013 (English)In: Criminology (Beverly Hills), ISSN 0011-1384, Vol. 51, no 3, 661-693 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In life-course criminology, when gender has been the focus of study, it has predominantly been treated as a variable. Studies that explore the gendered nature of criminal careers through the lived experiences of offenders are rare, even though these studies can make important contributions to our understanding of crime and the life course. Analyzing qualitative data, this article uses life-history narratives of a small sample of male juvenile delinquents (N = 25), born in 1969–1974, to explore the possible link among masculinities, persistence, and desistance from crime. The findings of the study suggest that processes of persistence and desistance are imbued with age-specific norms of what it means to “be a man” and successfully do masculinity in different stages of life. Analyzing these gender-specific practices gives a deepened understanding of processes that underlie the offenders’ lives as they go through stages of continuity and change in crime. The findings of the study further suggest a complex intersection between gendered biographies and gendered structures, with fruitful contributions to life-course criminology. The implications of these findings are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 51, no 3, 661-693 p.
Keyword [en]
masculinities, criminal careers, persistence, desistance, life-history interviews
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-97486DOI: 10.1111/1745-9125.12016ISI: 000329279900006OAI: diva2:678411
Available from: 2013-12-12 Created: 2013-12-12 Last updated: 2014-03-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Continuities and Changes in Criminal Careers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Continuities and Changes in Criminal Careers
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The best predictor of future criminal behavior is past criminal behavior. At the same time, the vast majority of people who engage in crime are teenagers and stop offending with age. Explaining these empirical findings has been the main task of life-course criminology, and contributing to an understanding of how and why offenders continue their criminal careers once they have started, and how and why they stop, is also the purpose of this dissertation.

To do this, the dissertation studies a number of facets of the criminal career: the importance of childhood risk factors (Paper I), the notions of turning points (Paper II) and intermittency (Paper III), and the connection between masculinities and criminal careers (Paper IV). In contrast to much life-course criminological research, the dissertation mainly relies on qualitative life history interviews, collected as part of The Stockholm Life Course Project.

The findings suggest a need for increased sensitivity to offenders’ lives, and their complexity. Whereas continuity and change can be understood within a frame of age-graded social control, this perspective needs to be extended and developed further, in mainly three ways. First, the concept and phenomenon of human agency needs closer study. Second, lived experiences of various forms of social stratification (e.g. gender, ethnicity, and so on) must be integrated into understandings of continuity and change in crime, seeing as phenomena such as social control may be contingent on these in important ways. Third, this dissertation highlights the need to go beyond the transition to adulthood and explore the later stages of criminal careers.

In closing, the dissertation suggests that we move toward a focus on the contingencies of criminal careers and the factors, events, and processes that help shape them. If we understand those contingencies in more detail, possible implications for policy and practice also emerge.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Criminology, Stockholm University, 2014. 127 p.
Avhandlingsserie / Kriminologiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet, ISSN 1404-1820 ; 34
life-course criminology, criminal careers, persistence, desistance
National Category
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-100696 (URN)978-91-7447-867-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-04-25, hörsal 8, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10 D, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)

At the time of the doctoral defence the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Submitted

Available from: 2014-04-03 Created: 2014-02-11 Last updated: 2014-03-13Bibliographically approved

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Carlsson, Christoffer
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