Criminalizing Women, 2nd edition

Gender and (In)Justice in Neoliberal Times

edited by Gillian Balfour and Elizabeth Comack  

This book introduces readers to the key issues addressed by feminists engaged in criminology research over the past four decades.

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  • September 2014
  • ISBN: 9781552666821
  • 392 pages
  • $48.00
  • For sale worldwide
  • PDF January 2021
  • ISBN: 9781773634654
  • $47.99
  • For sale worldwide

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About the book

Criminalizing women has become all too frequent in these neo-liberal times. Meanwhile, poverty, racism, and misogyny continue to frame criminalized women’s lives. Criminalizing Women introduces readers to the key issues addressed by feminists engaged in criminology research over the past four decades. Chapters explore how narratives that construct women as errant females, prostitutes, street gang associates and symbols of moral corruption mask the connections between women’s restricted choices and the conditions of their lives. The book shows how women have been surveilled, disciplined, managed, corrected, and punished, and it considers the feminist strategies that have been used to address the impact of imprisonment and to draw attention to the systemic abuses against poor and racialized women.

In addition to updating material in the introductions and substantive chapters, this second edition includes new contributions that consider the media representations of missing and murdered women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, the gendered impact of video surveillance technologies (CCTV), the role of therapeutic interventions in the death of Ashley Smith, the progressive potential of the Inside/Out Prison Exchange Program, and the use of music and video as decolonizing strategies.

Crime & Law Feminism, Gender & Sexuality


Gillian Balfour

Gillian Balfour is Associate professor in the Department of Sociology at Trent University.

Gillian recently completed a PhD in sociology at the University of Manitoba where she examined the role of lawyers in the criminalization of men and women accused of violent crimes. Her PhD research examined the practice of law as a social act that is constrained and enabled by socio-political interests of “law and order,” professional codes of conduct, and the identities of victims and offenders and the meaning of violence that are encoded with stereotypes of whiteness, Indianness, dangerousness, poverty, heterosexuality, femininity and masculinity.

Her research interests include law reforms in the areas of domestic and sexual violence, women, crime and social justice, feminist criminology and Aboriginal peoples in the criminal justice system. Gillian teaches Sociology of Law, Feminist Criminology and Introductory Sociology.

Elizabeth Comack

Elizabeth Comack is a distinguished professor emerita in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at the University of Manitoba. Comack’s work in the sociology of law and feminist criminology has been instrumental in setting the course for Canadian scholarship. She is a member of the Manitoba Research Alliance, a consortium of academics and community partners engaged in research addressing poverty in Indigenous and inner-city communities. Comack is the author or editor of 13 books, including Coming Back to Jail: Women, Trauma, and Criminalization; “Indians Wear Red”: Colonialism, Resistance, and Aboriginal Street Gangs (co-authored with Laurie Deane, Larry Morrissette, and Jim Silver); and Racialized Policing: Aboriginal People’s Encounters with Police.


  • Introduction (Gillian Balfour & Elizabeth Comack)
  • Part I: Women, Criminology, and Feminism
  • The Feminist Engagement with Criminology (Elizabeth Comack)
  • Part II: Making Connections: Class/Race/Gender Intersections
  • Introduction (Elizabeth Comack)
  • Sluts and Slags: The Censuring of the Erring Female (Joanne Minaker)
  • The In-Call Sex Industry: Gender, Class, and Racialized Labour in the Margins (Chris Bruckert & Colette Parent)
  • Surviving Colonization: Anishinaabe Ikwe Street Gang Participation (Nahanni Fontaine)
  • Dazed, Dangerous and Dissolute: Media Representations of Street-Level Sex Workers in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (David Hugill)
  • Scars (Jackie Traverse)
  • Part III: Regulating Women
  • Introduction (Gillian Balfour)
  • The Making of the Black Widow: The Criminal and Psychiatric Control of Women (Robert Menzies & Dorothy E. Chunn)
  • From Welfare Fraud to Welfare as Fraud: The Criminalization of Poverty (Dorothy E. Chunn & Shelley A.M. Gavigan)
  • The Paradox of Visibility: Women, CCTV, and Crime (Amanda Glasbeek & Emily van der Meulen)
  • Examining the “Psy-Carceral Complex” in the Death of Ashley Smith (Jennifer Kilty)
  • Part IV: Making Change
  • Introduction (Gillian Balfour)
  • Making Change in Neo-liberal Times (Laureen Snider)
  • Rattling Assumptions and Building Bridges: Community Engaged Education and Action in a Women’s Prison (Shoshana Pollack)
  • Experiencing the Inside-Out Program in a Maximum Security Prison (Monica Freitas, Bonnie McAuley & Nyki Kish)
  • Enhancing the Wellbeing of Criminalized Indigenous Women: A Contemporary Take on a Traditional Cultural Knowledge Form (Colleen Anne Dell, Jenny Gardipy, Nicki Kirlin, Violet Naytowhow & Jennifer J. Nicol)
  • References


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