Female Serial Killers in Social Context

Criminological Institutionalism and the Case of Mary Ann Cotton

Elizabeth Yardley and David Wilson

Female Serial Killers in Social Context

Elizabeth Yardley and David Wilson

Distributed for Bristol University Press

96 pages | 5 x 7 3/4 | © 2015
Cloth $65.00 ISBN: 9781447326458 Published November 2015 For sale in North and South America only
Attempts to understand serial murder tend to be focused on individual cases rather than the social context in which they occurred. This book departs from that approach, taking up the case of nineteenth-century serial killer Mary Ann Cotton and setting it in its full social context. Drawing from records of Cotton’s court appearances, local histories, and newspaper articles, it shows how institutions such as the family, economy, and religion shaped the environment she inhabited. While not denying the singularity of individuals who commit serial murder, the authors nonetheless make a powerful case for the influence and effects of society on their actions.
Contents
The Trouble with Female Serial Killers
Intersections and Institutions: New pathways in making sense of female serial killers
Development of the Case Study
Mary Ann's Social Roles
An Institutional Understanding of Mary Ann and Future Directions for Research
Review Quotes
Penny Green, Queen Mary, University of London, UK
“This excellent book starkly and powerfully confronts our received understanding of female serial killers. By placing the institutions of family, church, and economy in the dock we are forced to move beyond the psychological in grappling with the conditions which give rise to serial killing.”
David Canter, University of Huddersfield, UK
“Although there is much written about male serial killers, the female variety, being very much rarer, is little understood. This book is therefore a welcome and important addition to a fascinating topic.”
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