Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Criminal Justice


Michael G. Maxfield

Subject Categories

Criminology | Criminology and Criminal Justice


Culture; Forced marriage; Honor Violence; Internationally Comparative


Over the past decade, a specific form of interpersonal violence known as honor violence has drawn international attention because it has been increasingly reported in immigrant communities in western countries. There are currently no specific institutional responses to honor violence in the United States, but the growing media coverage of honor-related crimes has led interest groups to call for new legislation and institutional responses specific to honor violence. The global debate on the codification of honor violence hinges on the discussion of whether honor violence is a cultural crime that deserves special consideration, or whether such codification encourages discriminatory responses to specific ethnic groups.

This dissertation research is a cross-country comparison of institutional responses to honor violence in Turkey and England. This research first explores how institutional responders socially construct honor and honor violence, because these constructions provide the framework for individual, organizational, and institutional responses. Next, this research examines the differences in, and challenges to, two different models of providing criminal justice and social service responses to honor violence. 'Othering' provides the theoretical framework for then examining whether discriminatory responses based on culture, religion, and ethnicity are occurring in each model.

A comparative case study method with 60-90 minute interviews and vignettes was used to examine criminal justice and social service institutional responses to honor violence in each country. 74 key stakeholders were interviewed based on their knowledge of, and experience with, honor violence. Vignettes describing a case of honor violence that is common to each country were administered during each interview to assess whether othering is occurring among institutional responders. Using qualitative content analysis, the results show that othering appears to be occurring at the governmental level in both Turkey and the UK, which responders argued is part of nationalist agendas. I argue that this othering then has an effect on institutional responses, which is apparent in conservative othering among Turkish police officers and liberal othering among British police officers. Social service/NGO responders in each country tended to not only avoid engaging in othering, but actually discussed forms of othering in various institutional responses. This research responds to and informs the arguments for and against codifying honor violence, and discusses the broader implications of responses that address violence against women yet respect religious norms and customs. Recommendations are made for best practices and frameworks for policymakers and law enforcement to address honor violence in the U.S.