Ioannou, Maria (2009) Criminal Narrative Roles. In: Nordic Network for Research on Psychology and Law, 9-10 October 2009, Tallinn, Estonia. (Unpublished)

As part of the development of explanations that link criminal actions to offender characteristics (the ‘Profiling Equations’ at the heart of Investigative Psychology) a narrative approach first outlined by Canter (1994) was used. To explore the narratives implicit in the roles offenders acted out whilst committing a specific crime they remembered well. To develop this framework 120 incarcerated offenders, convicted for a variety of crimes, indicated, on a forced choice questionnaire, their crime related roles. The results were subjected to Smallest Space Analysis (SSA), a non-metric multidimensional scaling procedure. Four distinct criminal narrative roles that reflect Frye’s (1957) four story forms (Mythoi) were identified: Adventurer, Professional, Revenger and Victim. Further analysis showed that different subsets of crimes are more likely to be associated with different narrative roles. In broad terms, Adventurer and Professional were found to be associated with property offences while Revenger and Victim were found to be associated with crimes against the person. Theoretical, methodological and practical implications are discussed.

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