PhD student Natália Otto on “‘I Did What I Had to Do’: Loyalty and Sacrifice in Girls’ Narratives of Homicide in Southern Brazil”

BJC cover imagePh.D. student Natália Otto recently published an article, entitled, “‘I Did What I Had to Do’: Loyalty and Sacrifice in Girls’ Narratives of Homicide in Southern Brazil” in The British Journal of Criminology. The article investigates the ways in which women reconcile their gendered identities with the act of killing. Otto sheds light on women’s involvement in serious violence, which typically tends to be an under-theorized phenomenon in criminology. Her research takes place in Brazil, which has an unusually high rate of violent crime recorded in urban settings, and also embodies particular South American cultural conceptions in relation to violence.

We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below. The full text is available here.

Natália Otto. 2020. “‘I Did What I Had to Do’: Loyalty and Sacrifice in Girls’ Narratives of Homicide in Southern Brazil” The British Journal of Criminology, azz079, https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azz079

This paper examines how criminalized teenage girls who have committed homicide reconcile violent practices with self-conceptions of femininity in their personal narratives. Data come from 13 biographical interviews with adolescent girls incarcerated in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Drawing from Bourdieusian theory and narrative criminology, I examine how gendered social structures shape how girls produce intelligible and morally coherent accounts of their crimes. I found that girls share a narrative habitus that allows for three different frames to make sense of violence: violence as a gendered resource, as a gendered failure and as a gendered dilemma. This paper contributes to a growing feminist narrative criminology that investigates how personal narratives of violence are embedded in gendered social structures.