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1 - Introduction: Studying Homicide Situations

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 July 2009

Terance D. Miethe
Affiliation:
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Wendy C. Regoeczi
Affiliation:
Cleveland State University
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Summary

homicide has been studied from a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives. Biological, psychological, and sociological theories have been widely used to explain the etiology and epidemiology of violence. Methodologically, homicide has been investigated through both qualitative and quantitative approaches, cross-sectional and longitudinal designs, and across individual and aggregate units of analysis.

Despite all of this attention, one aspect of homicide still has not been studied systematically – homicide situations. By this we mean the quintessential convergence of offender, victim, and offense characteristics that define the situational context of homicide and that forms the basis for distinguishing homicides qualitatively. Several authors (e.g., LaFree and Birkbeck 1991; Kennedy and Forde 1999; Meier, Kennedy, and Sacco 2001; Miethe and Meier 1994) argue that the situational context of crime has largely been neglected as a topic of empirical research. However, recent developments in both theory (e.g., the emergence of a criminal event perspective) and method (e.g., the development of Qualitative Comparative Analysis) allow us to address this gap by developing an integrated approach to the study of homicide situations. We will use this approach in the current study to describe similarities and differences in the structure and process of homicide situations across groups and over time.

A focus on the situational context of crime, and the application of Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) as a means to study it, is particularly well-suited for criminal events involving violence. Specifically, our concern lies in the convergence of victim, offender, and offense elements that structure violent events.

Type
Chapter
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Rethinking Homicide
Exploring the Structure and Process Underlying Deadly Situations
, pp. 1 - 14
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2004

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