University of Leicester
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Socio-historical Contexts, Identity and Change: A Study of Desistance from Crime in Chile

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posted on 2016-07-06, 15:34 authored by Carolina Villagra
Scholarly activity in the area of desistance from crime has developed considerably over the last years; nonetheless, most of this work has been carried out with samples from Western countries. This thesis intends to make a contribution to one of desistance’s main underexplored areas, by exploring desistance processes among a group of Chilean formerly persistent male offenders, assessing the extent to which international evidence could be applied to this non-Western sample. Building upon the idea that desistance is better understood as a journey between offending to conformity, this thesis presents three positions in that continuum: the Current Offenders, Desisters in transition, and Desisters. It is found that existing knowledge is relevant to explain how Chilean former offenders transit out of crime, but it also reveals there are areas that are unique to this sample and might be related to differences in structural changes and socio-historical context. This thesis addresses that complexity by introducing three Desistance Pathways, which are particular dynamic configurations of structural and subjective factors that give rise to a certain sense of identity. Overall, this study provides a unique insight into desistance from crime in Chile, based on the analysis of the interplay between individual-level factors, social factors, structural changes and historical context.



King, Sam

Date of award


Author affiliation

Department of Criminology

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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