Paper Title

Surviving the Velvet Hammer: Analyzing the Criminalization of Working-Class Mothers in a Neoliberal Context

Location

Room 220, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

Start Date

April 2016

End Date

April 2016

Keywords

Criminalization, Identity, Intersectionality, Motherhood, Class, Neoliberalism, Poverty, Biopolitics

Abstract

Criminalization refers to the labeling and stigmatization of certain people, acts, or communities as criminal agents, and continues to play a significant role in shaping the social world of the United States. However, the study of criminalization and its effects begs to be interrogated from an intersectional perspective. Intersectionality should be employed to understand these growing trends, in an effort to create a more nuanced understanding of how criminalization operates as a force in the lives of people with varying identities. This paper will interrogate criminalization through multiple areas of critical inquiry, including those of public policy, media, and gender studies, as well as critical and feminist theory. Using recent case studies as evidence, I argue that women of color and working class women are uniquely criminalized as a result of their insersectional identities. The cases, as well as their media reception, reveal motherhood, as an aspect of identity, is yet another crucial vehicle by which criminalization occurs. By supplementing policy studies with the work of feminist and media scholars, I hope to further illuminate the intersections of social class, racial privilege, and gender in the context of criminalization discourses.

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Apr 1st, 5:00 PM Apr 1st, 6:15 PM

Surviving the Velvet Hammer: Analyzing the Criminalization of Working-Class Mothers in a Neoliberal Context

Room 220, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

Criminalization refers to the labeling and stigmatization of certain people, acts, or communities as criminal agents, and continues to play a significant role in shaping the social world of the United States. However, the study of criminalization and its effects begs to be interrogated from an intersectional perspective. Intersectionality should be employed to understand these growing trends, in an effort to create a more nuanced understanding of how criminalization operates as a force in the lives of people with varying identities. This paper will interrogate criminalization through multiple areas of critical inquiry, including those of public policy, media, and gender studies, as well as critical and feminist theory. Using recent case studies as evidence, I argue that women of color and working class women are uniquely criminalized as a result of their insersectional identities. The cases, as well as their media reception, reveal motherhood, as an aspect of identity, is yet another crucial vehicle by which criminalization occurs. By supplementing policy studies with the work of feminist and media scholars, I hope to further illuminate the intersections of social class, racial privilege, and gender in the context of criminalization discourses.