Revisiting the “Ideal Victim”Developments in Critical Victimology

Revisiting the “Ideal Victim”Developments in Critical Victimology

Marian Duggan

Print publication date: 2019

ISBN: 9781447338765

Publisher: Policy Press


Revisiting the ‘Ideal Victim’ is a collection of academic responses to the late Nils Christie’s (1986) seminal piece on the ‘ideal victim’ in which he addressed the socially constructed concept of an idealised form of victim status or identity. Highlighting the complex factors informing the application or rejection of victim status, Christie foregrounded the role of subjective and objective perspectives on personal and societal responses to victimisation. In sum, the ‘ideal victim’ is: “a person or category of individuals, who – when hit by crime – most readily are given the complete and legitimate status of being a victim” (1986: 18, original italics). This concept has become one of the most frequently cited themes of victimological (and, where relevant, criminological) academic scholarship over the past thirty years. In commemoration of his contribution, this volume analyses, evaluates and critiques the current nature and impact of victim identity, experience, policy and practice in light of Christie’s framework. Demonstrating how the very notion of what constitutes a ‘victim’ has undergone significant theorisation, evaluation and reconceptualization in the intervening three decades, the academic contributors in this volume excellently showcase the relevance of this ‘ideal victim’ concept to a range of contemporary victimological issues. In sum, the chapters critically evaluate the salience of Christie’s concept in a modern context while demonstrating its influence over the decades..

Table of Contents


Marian Duggan

The Ideal Victim

Nils Christie1

Part I Exploring the ‘Ideal Victim’

One The ideal victim through other(s’) eyes

Alice Bosma, Eva Mulder and Antony Pemberton

Part II Exploring the ‘Non-Ideal’ Victim


Marian Duggan

End Matter