Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Lois Presser

Committee Members

Harry Dahms, Ben Feldmeyer


Criminologists have long since marginalized passivity as a variable of interest when studying the phenomenon of harm-doing. In this thesis, I explore the role of passivity in such instances and build a case for its centrality to deviance. I also undertake a number of other tasks. First, I review the extent to which research throughout the academy has connected passivity to violence. Second, I explore whether criminological theories have incorporated the variable of passivity and how they could. Lastly, I reflect on why more work on passivity has not been done given its manifest connection to harm, and I offer suggestions on how criminology can move forward in integrating bystander behavior in its theories of harm-doing.

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