Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Rader, Nicole

Committee Member

Dunaway, R. Gregory

Committee Member

Kelly, Kimberly

Committee Member

Haynes, Stacy

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Sociology


The following dissertation uses fictional crime dramas to determine whether there are gendered patterns in the use of techniques of neutralization between and among male and female offenders. It utilizes a mixed method approach to answer three separate research questions: (1) how techniques of neutralization are used in fictional crime dramas, (2) whether such portrayals vary between and among male and female offenders, and (3) how elements of doing gender play a role in the gendered nature of males and female offenders’ techniques of neutralization. The sample included 124 episodes from four different fictional crime dramas and 383 individual offenses were used in the data. The quantitative data found that while both genders utilize the techniques in similar proportions, there are specific differences in their applicability. One salient difference was that men tended to commit offenses without using a technique of neutralization to excuse their offense more often than were women. The qualitative data showed several themes in how men and women utilized these techniques as well. Women were not depicted speaking the technique used for their offense as often as were men. Further, they were more likely to have someone else offer a technique on their behalf. When women did use a technique of neutralization they were likely to use more than one whereas, this was not found with men. There were also specific variations that occurred within each technique that played off of how the gender of the offenders was portrayed in the shows.