n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Serial murder in South Africa : asking different questions

Volume 28, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



This theoretical paper explores some prevailing discourses surrounding serial murder and that the existing debates surrounding serial murder, which adopted a singular theoretical focus, have offered one dimensional conceptualisations of the phenomenon. This singular focus has also permeated through to offender profiling practices which have been found to have limited empirical value. Within this discourse the argument is made that a clearer, integrated understanding of the personality development of serial murderers as well as the influence of the situational and environmental context on individual behaviour would be more consistent with contemporary conceptualisations of personality and behaviour. A psychosocial perspective is discussed which approaches the individual and exhibits behavioural patterns as being a product of both internal psychological processes and multiple situational, contextual, and environmental points of connection.

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