SUICIDE AS MURDER AT COMMON LAW: Another Chapter in the Falsification of Consensus Theory

DENNIS E. HOFFMAN, VINCENT J. WEBB

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

The debate among advocates of consensus, pluralist. and Marxist views of the origins of criminal law continues to occupy a central position in contemporary theoretical criminology. This article assesses these positions through a historical inquiry into the law‐making and‐enforcing processes surrounding self‐murder or suicide. Historical data on the criminalization and depenalization of suicide indicate that economic and fiscal interests shaped suicide laws, but these laws were unenforceable because of popular resistance. The significance of these findings for criminological theory is that laws generally thought to be based on consensus were instead grounded in conflict and struggle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-384
Number of pages13
JournalCriminology
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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