Intergenerational linkages of crime for women in Guatemala.

  • Maria Paula Lopez Castillo

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


This thesis ambitiously draws together a number of criminological concerns. One is the absence of empirical studies about crime and delinquency for Central American countries, specifically Guatemala, where there is a youthful population profile, a background of civil conflict and ongoing problems of urban gangs (Rodriguez, 2009). The second is to acknowledge that while women generally have lower levels of offending than males, there appears to be increasing feminisation of crime (Daly, 1998), and to explore what this means for women and their families particularly within a Latino context. A third strand is to rely upon one of the recent theories that does address female offending, General Strain Theory by Robert Agnew (1992), to examine its utility for those experiencing severe strain in Guatemala. A final thread is to add to an emergent research area on the intergenerational transmission of crime (Thornberry, 2005) to explain the associations between parental criminal acts and the subsequent delinquent behaviour of their offspring.
The study utilises a qualitative case study methodology that comprised fieldwork in a poor area of Guatemala City sited on a rubbish dump. The methods involved observations,informal conversations, and formal semi-structured qualitative interviews with women who lived and worked there. Data analysis revealed four common thematic areas among participants: (1) family structure and identity, (2) instrumental crime, (3) situational abuse and (4) subculture of violence. The present research contributes to our knowledge through exploring the life experiences of ten women with delinquent backgrounds living in extreme poverty and how these are impacting on the next generation, to extend the fledgling criminological endeavours in Guatemala.
Date of Award16 Feb 2019
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRobyn A Lincoln (Supervisor) & Terry Goldsworthy (Supervisor)

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