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date: 18 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Although homicide is less common than other types of violent crime, research on its relationship to sex and gender is relevant to key debates within criminology over the value of general theories of violence, the relationship between social change and crime, and the importance of cross-national analyses of violence. This essay summarizes macro- and micro-level research on homicide offending and victimization since the mid-twentieth century and engages with the questions of whether and how sex and gender should be fundamental to theories of homicide or interpersonal violence more generally. Similarities and differences in the correlates and contexts of homicides by and against women and men are discussed, drawing on data from around the world. The essay concludes that sex and gender have always been and will continue to be central to understanding homicide, but more comprehensive conceptualizations of both gender—that is, as more than an attribute of individuals—and gender inequality are necessary to advance the field.

Keywords: homicide, gender gap in violence, sex- and gender-specific theories, victimization, offending

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