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date: 21 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The Bolshevik takeover of Russia in 1917 initiated a major transformation of the position of women in Russian society as a result of its stress on universal contribution to economic production. As expectations for women shifted, anxieties about the nature of society and relationships increased. Soviet criminologists addressed these anxieties and helped to reinforce women’s traditional position in Soviet society by emphasizing the backwardness of women and the influence of female physiology on their criminal activity. This chapter traces the ways that Russian and Soviet criminologists adapted European ideas and created new criminological institutions to suit the political, ideological, and environmental conditions in Russia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It then explores how those ideas were applied to explain female criminal deviance, arguing that criminologists remained committed to physiological explanations of female offending even as they embraced sociological interpretations of crime.

Keywords: female crime, geography of crime, European criminology, Soviet criminology, infanticide, physiology

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