Negotiating a Victim Identity: Young Men as Victims of Violence

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25 Citations (SciVal)


This article is based on an interview study of how ten young male crime victims talk about violent events and actors involved. It focuses on how the young men present their identities as ‘young men’ who have been victims of violent crimes. In their narrations the men struggle with a cultural understanding that ‘masculinity’ is associated with strength and power, while ‘victim’ is associated with weakness and impotence. During the interviews the young men actualize several balancing acts in their presentation of themselves as men and victims, in a delicate manner by use of specific word choice, manner of speaking, laughter, etc. The young men are negotiating a victim identity; they portray themselves by careful positioning as both victims and strong, active young men. By this discursive balancing of identities the young men can be manly at the same time as are victims. Hence, they do not have to ‘choose’ between the two somewhat conflicting identities. Instead, subtle depictions that accept a victim identity are presented alongside with implicit declarations of one’s masculinity. In collaboration with the listener the participants negotiate how they want to be known; as ‘victim worthy’ young men, with associations to a ‘hegemonic manliness’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-54
JournalJournal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • violence
  • victim
  • narrative
  • men
  • masculinity
  • balance
  • identity
  • sociology
  • sociologi


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