A Case of Growing Up? A Feminist Critique of Maturational Theory

  • Úna BarrEmail author
Part of the Critical Criminological Perspectives book series (CCRP)


This chapter examines the ontogenetic perspective of desistance theory, concluding that it offers an incomplete and gender-blind approach to explaining contemporary female desistance journeys. This chapter analyses three trajectories of transgressing the law experienced by the women involved in the research; early-onset, late-onset and one-off transgressions of the law. These trajectories contest the findings of authors such as Gottfredson and Hirschi (A General Theory of Crime. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990) that desistance is something which happens naturally with the passage of time. Instead, this chapter will argue for a critical analysis of desistance, rooted in feminist theory and epistemology.


Maturational theory Feminism Trajectories Early-Onset Late-Onset 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Humanities and Social ScienceLiverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK

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