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date: 17 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the relationship between sociology and substantive criminal law and offers a new frame of analysis for understanding the role of sociology in criminal law. It begins with an overview of the existing sociology of criminal law and highlights the fundamental tensions between the two disciplines, with an emphasis on attempts to reconceptualize the relationship. It then treats sociology in criminal law as a new paradigm for a cross-fertilization of sociology and criminal law and illustrates this paradigm by looking at the case of the diminished responsibility of offenders. This new paradigm is then further developed through a close analysis of sexual abuse offenses which concern the diminished responsibility of victims.

Keywords: sociology, criminal law, diminished responsibility, offenders, sexual abuse, victims

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