Social Construction of Serial Murder
After reading this chapter, students should be able:
1. To evaluate sociological theories as they pertain to violent behavior.
2. To understand the role of family and maladaptive childhood behaviors that may portend adult criminality, especially violence.
3. To examine the incidence of school shootings by juveniles compared to adults. 4. To examine the Myers and Kirby typologies of juvenile serial killers.
5. To explore the etiology of serial murder as it relates to Hickey’s Trauma-
6. To review the case studies as they relate to the process of becoming a serial murderer. 7. To understand the facilitators that influence the…show more content…
Specifically, offenders are blocked in various ways from achieving the “American dream” through legitimate means as a result of their racial, ethnic, or subcultural standing. Structural theories offer cogent explanations for many types of crimes, but not serial murder. Approximately 75% of serial killers do not belong to a racial or ethnic minority and do not appear to be particularly motivated by social or financial gain, although there are exceptions. Certainly, serial offenders who rob their victims exist, but even then the financial reward is peripheral to the attraction of controlling and killing another human being.
Social process theories contend that criminal behavior is a function of a socialization process. Offenders may turn to crime as a result of peer-group pressure, family problems, poor school performance, legal entanglements, and other situations that gradually steer them to criminal behavior. Sykes and Matza (1957) and Matza (1964) view the process of delinquent youths becoming criminals as a matter of neutralizing their personal values and attitudes as they drift between conventional behavior and illegitimate behavior. Classical control theorists would argue that people do not commit crimes such as murder because of their fear of punishment. Punishment, they believe, can serve as a deterrent to committing crimes. Hirschi found that youths who appeared to be closely attached to their parents were less likely to commit crimes. In