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of witchcraft and their embarrassing and potentially

even fatal aftermath. Jeanne Favret-Saada

could apply Evans-Pritchard’s theses with little

revision in her study of the diagnostics of witchcraft

among Norman peasants, Deadly Words (1977

[trans. 1980]). The contributors to Jean and John

Comaroff’s Modernity and Its Malcontents (1993) find

not only that the idiom of witchcraft continues to

have great currency in sub-Saharan Africa but also

that it has come to supply there the primary resources

for a popular critique of market capitalism.

Yet such an idiom is not of equal service

everywhere; culturally widespread, it is not culturally

universal. In Natural Symbols (1971), Mary

Douglas infers from comparative evidence that

witches and their craft are more likely to be at

the forefront of collective consciousness and concern

in societies that vigilantly monitor their

boundaries and the unambiguous conformity of

any given individual to the group or groups to

which he or she belongs. JAMES D. FAUBION

Wittgenstein, Ludwig (1889–1951)

Born in Austria, Wittgenstein was preoccupied

throughout his life with the nature of language

and its relation to the world, and came to occupy a

unique position in the linguistic philosophy movement

that flourished during the middle part of

the twentieth century. His initial “picture theory”

of meaning asserted that language consists of

propositions that picture the world, which he conceptualized

as an arrangement of atomic facts

whose logical form is mirrored in language.

Subsequently Wittgenstein came to reject this

picture theory because its focus on the representational

role of language excluded the innumerable

other forms of language use that he evoked

with his notion of language games. With this

rejection came the recognition that language use

is always part of a wider set of conventional

human activities and cannot be understood apart

from them. At the same time, the notion of

“atomic facts” and their corresponding simple

names was discarded in favor of the idea that

human categories are built up of overlapping

“family resemblances” – a view which has enormous

influence on categorization theory.

Wittgenstein was thus a central figure in the

linguistic turn in western philosophy. His ideas

emerged within sociology in the writings of Peter

Winch, in The Idea of a Social Science (1958), and

others who used his discussion of rule-following

conduct to criticize excessively deterministic analyses

of human action, in the movement known as

social constructionism that developed within sociology

in the late 1960s and beyond, and in the

broader movement towards the study of language

and discourse in the social sciences.


Wolf, Kurt H. (1912–2003)

Manuel Yellen Professor of Social Relations at

Brandeis University, Wolf contributed to the study

of Georg Simmel, the history of sociology, and the

sociology of knowledge. He was born in Darmstadt,

Germany, escaped to Italy in 1934, obtained

his doctorate from the University of Florence in

1935, and emigrated to the United States in 1939,

where he taught at the Southern Methodist University

and Ohio State University. He was elected

President of the International Society for the Sociology

of Knowledge in 1972.

The revival of interest in Simmel was stimulated

by The Sociology of Georg Simmel (1950), which Wolf

edited and translated. He developed a unique view

of qualitative research in his Surrender and Catch.

Experience and Inquiry Today (1976), and Survival and

Sociology. Vindicating the Human Subject (1991), in

which he argued that the researcher should begin

with immersion “surrender” in the world of the

subject rather than taking an external and objective

stance “catch”. BRYAN S. TURNER

women and crime

Certain trends and patterns in women’s criminality

compared with men’s have long been observed:

women commit a small share of all crimes; their

crimes are fewer, less serious, and less likely to be

repeated than men’s; women form a smaller proportion

of the prison population than men – although

this has been changing in recent years

owing to changing perceptions of women, increases

in drug use, and perceptions that women

are now committing more violent crimes than

hitherto. These observations are shared across

the world, so much so that it has frequently been

argued that it is really women’s conformity that

we need to fathom, rather than their criminality.

While the media worldwide give attention to

unusually violent or sexual crimes committed by

women, and while adult women are found in all

offense types, they form a numerical majority in

only a small number of offenses: infanticide,

Wittgenstein, Ludwig (1889–1951) women and crime


offenses relating to prostitution, certain kinds of

theft, and (in England and Wales) failure to pay for

a television license. When women are convicted it

is more likely to be for offenses involving theft

and handling stolen goods, drug offenses, and

fraud and forgery, than anything else.

There has been relatively little theorizing about

women and crime. Rather, it is often the case that

theories put forward to explain men’s crime have

been presented as general theories of crime and

have included women without real questioning as

to whether or not this is appropriate. While criminological

theorizing about crime and pathways

into crime has been abundant, then, criminology

has seemingly had almost nothing to say of interest

or importance about women. Whether this

reflects the apparent rarity of the female offender,

simple neglect, sexism on the part of theorists, or

some other reason, it is difficult to say, but it has

meant that the trajectory of theories relating to

women has been unusually conservative.

Early theorists argued that the true nature of

women was antithetical to crime. Reflecting dominant

ideas about biological determinism, epitomized

in Sigmund Freud’s widely quoted phrase

“anatomy is destiny,” it was thought that criminality

was linked to “maleness” and “masculine

traits” such as aggression and physicality. Cesare

Lombroso (1835–1909), one of the most influential

biological theorists, argued in The Female Offender

(1895, cowritten with Guglielmo Ferrero) that

women were less well evolved than men and that

female criminality resulted from biological inferiority.

A further notable strand to the biology and

crime debate (in the 1960s and 1970s in particular)

has revolved around menstruation and crime.

Modern biological theories focus on the relation

between the personality trait of sensation-seeking

and the physiological/biological phenomena associated

with it.

Psychological theories of women’s crime also

emerged in the latter half of the nineteenth century.

For example, nineteenth-century explanations

for kleptomania attributed women’s shoplifting to

a mental disease associated with reproductive functions.

In a lecture on The Psychology of Women (1933),

Freud attributed women’s deviance to their inability

to adjust to their biological inferiority; as a

consequence, he suggested, they develop a masculinity

complex. Later theories revolved around

women’s apparently high levels of emotional instability

and poor self-image, while recent research

has focused on gender differences in motivational

constructs, sensation-seeking, creativity, differences

in social attitudes, and social cognition

(those factors that affect an individual’s capacity

for encoding information, interpreting, and considering

the risks and benefits of a particular


Explanations of female criminality in terms of

social differentiation of gender roles, which

emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, were heralded

as a major advance on the early conservative

physiological and psychological theories. References

to differential opportunities for illegitimate

activity, socialization, and expectations of behavior

all point to how the social environment can

limit or facilitate access to illegitimate means to

achieve status or social goals. Sociological and

feminist work has also included analysis of differential

forms of social control, with greater “chaperonage”

over females than males. Embedded

structural factors such as poverty and family disruption

are also thought to influence women’s

offending levels in the same way that they influence

men’s, although the “feminization of poverty”

suggests that women may be particularly

influenced by such factors.

In 1975 two controversial American authors,

Freda Adler (Sisters in Crime) and Rita Simon

(Women and Crime), argued that women’s increased

criminality stemmed from their liberation. The

books attracted major criticism, not least because

of the difficulty in measuring the impact of the

women’s movement and because of assumptions

that women’s roles had changed. Numerous feminist

reviews of the relationship between women

and crime followed, notably Women, Crime and

Criminology by Carol Smart (1976) in England. A

key contribution of such studies has been to highlight

that our knowledge of female offenders has

been beset with myths, muddles, and misconceptions

which often reflect ideological concerns

rather than objective evidence and that even selfconsciously

“objective” scientific approaches often

reflect men’s knowledge. The collective endeavors

of feminist criminologists and supporters in other

disciplines have offered trenchant critiques of the

accumulated wisdom about female offenders and

demonstrated the limitations of theories of criminality

that have been developed by and applied to

men in providing explanations of women’s crime.

Some of the questions left unanswered by feminist

critiques of crime revolve around the precise

ways in which patriarchy might contribute to

women’s crime, but the concentration on power

in feminist analyses has contributed enormously

to an understanding of the gender biases built

into and demonstrated by knowledge construction,

legal, and criminal justice system processes.

women and crime women and crime


One theme that has been consistently evident in

writings about women and crime concerns gender

role conditioning (whether as a result of biology,

psychology, or patriarchy). Women’s own accounts

for their pathways into crime bear out

such claims, but also emphasize the role of insurmountable

social and economic difficulties which

lead some women towards crime. Many female

offenders indicate child sexual and violent abuse

and other deprivations in early lives. Not all who

are abused go on to commit crime, of course;

nevertheless, women’s accounts about pathways

into crime, with all their contradictions, are no

less valid than others.

Why some women commit crime can perhaps

be approached by referring to the broad features

of women’s structural positions and lifestyles in

society and then focusing on what is offendingrelated.

Child sexual abuse and other related

factors are often mentioned in this regard, although

the connections between this and crime

remain undertheorized. It could well be that the

low self-esteem engendered by the abuse and disadvantage

fosters movement towards crime

simply because crime provides a way of establishing

some kind of autonomy in otherwise disempowered

lives, but more research is needed here.


women and work

Work, both paid and unpaid, has been a key concept

in sociological research on gender. The activity

of men has normally been valued more highly

than the activities of women. A major theme has

been the distribution between wage work, care

work, and housework, which is a key factor determining

the gender division of work and the reproduction

of the gender hierarchy. The sexual

division of work has changed radically especially

since the mid-1970s, but there is at the same time

a remarkable stability in the sexual division of

work across time and place. A key question in

feminist research is how to reconcile wage work

with care work.

Since the industrial revolution the fundamental

gender differentiation in paid and unpaid work is

connected to the capitalist division of labor in

production and reproduction. Women have

always worked but women’s position on the labor

market was tied to responsibilities for housework

and care work determined by their class position

and the ability to pay others to carry out this

work. The division between wage work and care

work connected to the public/private divide

has two aspects – one refers to a differentiation

between the state and the market, the other to the

differentiation between state and family. As Jane

Lewis and Ilona Ostner have shown in “Gender

and the Evolution of European Social Policies,” in

S. Liebfried and P. Pierson (eds.), European Social

Policies (1995), the male-breadwinner model was

shaped by a discourse and policy premised upon

men’s role as the main providers and women’s

responsibility for children, the sick, the old, and

the disabled. As a result men received higher

wages than did women even if they were not


The meaning of work is contested and feminist

research has redefined work to include house and

care work. In her Welfare State and Women Power

(1987), Helga Hernes emphasized that care work is

determined by a different logic from the state and

the market. Care work is invisible and, as Kari

Wærness in her essay “On the Rationality of

Caring” (in A. S. Sassoon [ed.], Women and the State,

1987) has argued, there is a different rationality

connected to caring for husbands who can take

care of themselves and caring for dependent

family members.

During the 1970s and 1980s feminist scholars

debated the increasing tendency for all women,

including mothers and sole mothers, to become

wage workers and for the state to regulate care

work. From the late 1980s there was growing

interest in comparative differences in women’s

participation in wage work and in the organization

of care work. The Anglo-American approach

had a negative perception of the state and public

policies as instruments for patriarchal control of

women’s work, sexuality, and motherhood. In contrast,

Scandinavian research developed a positive

perception of the state and “reproduction going

public,” inspired by the expansion of the public

service sector and women’s inclusion on the labor


European welfare states have since the mid-

1970s moved towards a dual-breadwinner model

with an increasing political emphasis on the responsibilities

of all adults to engage in paid work.

The increase in women’s and decrease in men’s

labor market participation, as well as the changes

in family structures towards an increasing individualization,

has eroded the male-breadwinner

model. As demonstrated by comparative gender

research there are different labor market patterns.

Diane Sainsbury, in Gender and Welfare Regimes

(1999), differentiates between: (1) a male-breadwinner

regime, where benefits are given solely to

the male provider; (2) a separate gender roles

regime, where benefits are given to both the

women and work women and work


male provider and the female caregiver; and (3) an

individual earner–carer regime, where both sexes

have entitlements as earners and carers, found

only in Scandinavia.

In terms of the mixed economy of care there are

also different patterns. In countries such as

France, a general family support has given all

children above three years a place in a publicly

funded childcare center. In countries such as the

United Kingdom, provision is likely to be a mixture

of kin, market provision, public provision,

and voluntary provision. Only the Nordic countries

have a tradition for publicly funded childcare

centers for under-three-year-olds.

Globalization and migration have created new

forms of inequality in the division between work

and care as women in the Third World increasingly

migrate to the First World. Scholars have

identified a care deficit in the poor countries, in

the sense that women from the Third World increasingly

cover the caring needs of the rich countries.

They are hired to take care of children and

do housework for middle- and upper-class families

in the rich world, while their own children often

live in poor conditions in their home countries.

This has created what Arlie Russell Hochschild and

Barbara Ehrenreich have called “global care

chains” (Global Women: Nannies, Maids and Sex

Workers in the New Economy, 2003) with the export

of care from the poor to the rich world. At the

same time the family work for migrant women

may be dominated by poor wages and exploitative

working conditions.

Globalization and migration have increased

class differences among women. Scholars have

identified a tendency towards a feminization of

poverty in the global economy where women in

poor countries do most of the hard work and get

the least resources. Inequalities between women

in the rich and poor countries and between

women within many rich countries are growing.

At the same time women also have common interests

as wage workers in equal pay, non-discrimination

hiring and firing practices, and decent

working conditions. Gender interacts with other

kinds of diversity and differentiation that must be

taken into account in order to understand the

dynamics of women’s work in a globalized world.

There is a growing awareness in the international

system that women’s work is the key to economic

development in many Third World countries.

Gender equality has become a political goal and

mainstreaming has become a means to integrate

a gender and ethnicity perspective in politics

and planning. The United Nations system has

strengthened women’s right to basic resources,

including work, education, and equal pay, and

has developed strategies to empower women and

improve their living conditions and well-being.


women’s health

– see health.

women’s studies

In modern democracies there is a close relationship

between the women’s movement / feminism

and women’s studies. The women’s movement was

a child of the American and French Revolutions

that inspired demands for women’s equal rights

among intellectuals such as Mary Wollstonecraft

(1759–97) and John Stuart Mill. The dramatic

changes in relations between work and family

and the integration of women in wage work after

the industrial revolution were the background for

studies of the women question. During the twentieth

century, women’s organizations demanded

both equal civil, political, and social rights

and special rights in relation to pregnancy and

birth. In her influential book The Sexual Contract

(1988), Carole Pateman has analyzed Wollstonecraft’s

dilemma – the tension between strategies

based on equality that neglect women’s experiences

“as women” and strategies based upon difference

that reproduce women’s subordination in


Simone de Beauvoir’s seminal book The Second

Sex (1949 [trans. 1972]) was the first modern feminist

study of the construction of women through

socialization in the family, in education, and on

the labor market. The opening statement, “You

are not born a woman, you become a woman,” is

a critique of biological essentialism similar to

the social constructivist position of postmodern


Women’s studies are defined as studies “for, by

and about women.” The first women’s study program

was established in 1969/70 in the United

States, inspired by the new feminist movement

and developed as an interdisciplinary approach

at many western universities. During the 1980s

there was a growing criticism of the dominant

“women-centeredness” that tended to neglect

diversity among women of color. Inspired by the

critique from minority women and postcolonialism,

many women’s studies centers changed their

name to “centers for gender research” during

the 1990s. This marked a change from a focus on

women’s common interests to a focus on men and

women and work women’s studies


masculinity and on the interconnection between

gender, ethnicity, and sexuality.

Feminist studies included liberal feminism, radical

feminism, standpoint theory, and diversity

feminism, inspired by postcolonialism. Their strategies

have varied from the “inclusion” of women to

“reversal” and “re-conceptualizing” the discipline,

and their methods range from quantitative to interpretative

and deconstructive methodology.

Since the 1990s there has been a growing critique

of Anglo-American bias and the change from

women’s studies to gender research was followed

by more contextual and situated approaches. The

demobilization of the women’s movement in western

democracies has contributed to strengthening

postmodernist and poststructuralist gender research

at western universities. Judith Butler’s

book, Gender Trouble. Feminism and the Subversion of

Identity (1990), illustrates the new tension between

deconstruction and the normative goals of


Globalization and migration have been followed

by a growth in the international women’s movement

and a public discourse about gender equality

in the international community. Today there

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