Original Articles

The Use of Hermeneutics in the Criminological Interpretation of Forensic Documents: A Case Study

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 23, issue 4, 2013 , pages: 661–667
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2013.10820685
Author(s): Michelle OvensUniversity of South Africa,


This study explored the use of hermeneutics to retrospectively construct a criminological assessment. The data are archival records on a convicted woman (Mrs B: not real name) for the murder of her husband. The data are analyzed using a Ricoeurian narrative identity analysis framework. The results indicate that Mrs B has a history of violent behaviour and is manipulative and does not accept responsibility for her behaviour, suggesting that hermeneutic inquiry is appropriate for criminology assessments.

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