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Female Serial Killers In Social ContextCriminological institutionalism and the case of Mary Ann Cotton$
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Elizabeth Yardley and David Wilson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781447326458

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447326458.001.0001

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The trouble with female serial killers

The trouble with female serial killers

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 The trouble with female serial killers
Source:
Female Serial Killers In Social Context
Author(s):

Elizabeth Yardley

David Wilson

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447326458.003.0001

This chapter introduces the topic of serial homicide, exploring the development of this academic field. Difficulties in defining ‘serial killing’ are considered in relation to the numerous definitions and different criteria upon which they draw. Thereafter the study of female serial killers is explored and the different types of approach to making sense of women who engage in such crimes are critically considered. Thereafter, the case of Mary Ann Cotton is introduced and contextualised within existing understandings of female serial killers – the chapter concludes that existing approaches are limited in the amount of light they are able to shed on this particular case.

Keywords:   Serial murder, definitions, female serial killers, Mary Ann Cotton

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