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Victim Support and Social Solidarity

Paper i proceeding
Författare Ulla-Britt Wennerström
Stig Grundvall
Ulf Borelius
Publicerad i ISA World Congress of Sociology, July 11–17, 2010. RC29, Session 3: Cultural Criminology
Publiceringsår 2010
Publicerad vid Sociologiska institutionen
Institutionen för socialt arbete
Språk en
Ämnesord Criminal victim support, victim support services, social solidarity, Durkheim
Ämneskategorier Sociologi, Socialt arbete

Sammanfattning

The multidisciplinary research and evaluation project Victim support in Gothenburg comprehensively surveys the public and the private providers of victim support services in Gothenburg, and evaluates and examines the publicly financed victim support services. Data have been gathered through telephone interviews with public as well as private providers of victim support services, and face-to-face interviews with publicly financed providers of such support services and different categories of victims of crime. The focus of the paper is on the social function of victim support. From the perspective of Emile Durkheim, Randall Collins, and Mary Douglas, and a context of growing social inequalities, it is argued that victim support on a societal level can be viewed as a ritual that works parallel with and strengthens the solidarity-producing effect of crime-punishment rituals. In the discourse of some of the providers of victim support services, victim of crime is implicitly related to concepts of purity and pollution. Hence, on an individual level, victim support, in particular counselling, can be viewed as a ritual through which the victim is purified from the pollution that the crime has caused. As a ritual of purity, victim support thus benefits the victim’s reintegration into society.

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