Gender, Truth and State Power: Capitalising on Punishment, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Gender, Truth and State Power

Capitalising on Punishment, 1st Edition

By Anette Ballinger


142 pages

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Hardback: 9780754674788
pub: 2016-07-12
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315570839
pub: 2016-07-01
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This book is concerned with critically analysing the importance of the status of knowledge in establishing ‘truth’ about female defendants convicted of murder during the 20th Century. While the abolition of the death penalty in the UK has insured that the impact of this knowledge is no longer one of life and death, modern cases such as that of Sally Clark, whose guilty verdict was eventually overturned, nevertheless demonstrate the devastating impact that those with the power to define the 'truth' still have on the lives of individuals who are unable to construct a dominant truth of their own during their trials.

Using the key themes of truth, gender and power, the book also focuses on agency and rationality in relation to female criminality, masculinity and miscarriages of justice. Challenging official discourse which historically has incorporated entrenched constructions of women who kill as mad, bad or tragic victims, this book argues for the creation of new subject positions and alternative discourses within which female violence can be understood.


'Anette Ballinger has a reputation for meticulously theorized, yet accessible, feminist archival research. This welcome sequel to her award-winning book, Dead Woman Walking, demonstrates the dynamic nature of knowledge production and the continuing need to challenge the established social order in the treatment of women charged with murder.'

Anne Worrall, Emerita Professor of Criminology, Keele University

'Combining theoretical and methodological sophistication with empirical rigour, Ballinger’s excavations into the convictions of women for murder – from the early 19th C to that of Sally Clark in 1999 - reveal much about the gender of law and the state and, in her superb transgressions of disciplinary boundaries, about the wider heteropatriarchal social order.'

Steve Tombs, Professor of Criminology, The Open University

'Anette Ballinger’s new book is an eloquent testimony to the power of careful historical excavation to shed light on the dynamics of the present. By airing voices suppressed in powerful practices such as law, it shows us that law’s claims to truth are constructed from particular points of view, and can be deconstructed and revised.'

Nicola Lacey, School Professor of Law, Gender and Social Policy, London School of Economics

Table of Contents


About the Author

Dr Anette Ballinger is a lecturer in Criminology in the School of Social Science and Public Policy, Keele University. This study builds on her previous book Dead Woman Walking, winner of the Hart Socio-Legal book prize, 2001.

About the Series

Gender in Law, Culture, and Society

Gender in Law, Culture, and Society
Gender in Law, Culture, and Society will address key issues and theoretical debates related to gender, culture, and the law. Its titles will advance understanding of the ways in which a society’s cultural and legal approaches to gender intersect, clash, and are reconciled or remain in tension. The series will further examine connections between gender and economic and political systems, as well as various other cultural and societal influences on gender construction and presentation, including social and legal consequences that men and women uniquely or differently encounter. Intended for a scholarly readership as well as for courses, its titles will be a mix of single-authored volumes and collections of original essays that will be both pragmatic and theoretical. It will draw from the perspectives of critical and feminist legal theory, as well as other schools of jurisprudence. Interdisciplinary, and international in scope, the series will offer a range of voices speaking to significant questions arising from the study of law in relation to gender, including the very nature of law itself.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General