Female Serial Killers through a Sociological Lens




Keya, Danielle Zohra

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It has been estimated that 12 to 15 percent of serial killers are female. Documented cases of serial murder committed by women date back thousands of years and have continued into the 21st century. The majority of studies conducted on and about serial killers have focused primarily on their male counterparts, due to the fact that men make up 85 to 88 percent of documented cases of serial murder. Many of the studies conducted have focused predominately on the mental, psychological, and physiological factors that may have caused or contributed to why they killed. This study examines ten of history’s most notorious female serial killers using the theories of sociologists Emile Durkheim and Robert K. Merton. The principles of Durkheim’s Anomie Theory and Merton’s Strain Theory have been selected as tools of analysis in helping to understand how a set of thirteen specific sociological factors may have contributed to causing these particular women to become serial killers.



Sociology/sociological, Robert K. Merton, Female serial killers, Emile Durkheim, Anomie theory, Strain theory