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Lecture 2

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Criminology and Criminal Justice
CRCJ 1000
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WEEK 2UNDERSTANDING CRIMECRIMINOLOGYCrime as an object of studyCrime vs DevianceCriminalization as a processCrime as Laws ProductCrime as a Social Construction Why are you taking criminology What does criminology mean to you What does the word crime mean Is there a difference between crime and deviance Who is a criminal What do criminologists doCriminologys OriginsWhat is criminology An interdisciplinary subject with origins in applied medicolegal science psychiatry scientifically oriented psychology nineteenthcentury social reform movementsCriminologys Origins 1879 Paul Topinard French Anthropologist Used the term criminologie 1885 Raffaele Garofalo Italian law professor Student of Lombrosso Coined term criminologiaBoth used the term in reference to the study of punishment and the treatment of criminalsStarted the Classical School of Criminological thoughtWhat is Criminology Interdisciplinary StudyCriminology is influenced by and draws upon Sociology Law Psychology History Political Science Geography cultural studies sexuality studiesCriminologyCriminal Justice Criminology more theoretically informed Focused on meaning and understanding of crime Criminal Justice more focused on the study of the administrative responses to the study of crimeDefining criminology The study of crime The study of those who commit crime The study of the criminal justice and penal systemsWhat is Crime The meaning of crime is not given or inherent but rather achieved Acts are not intrinsically criminal they are understood as criminal when we apply the term crime to certain acts Ex Killing during wartime vs killing during peace time only one is understood as a crimeWhat is CrimeLegal FormalismMost commonly used definition is that crime is an infraction of the criminal law Within the criminal law a crime is conduct or an act of omission which when it results in certain consequences may lead to prosecution and punishment in a criminal court This is referred to as legalFormalismCanadian Criminal Law Crime is understood as more serious vs less serious Major offences in Canada are indictable offences Minor offences in Canada are summary offences Hybrid offences can be treated as either indictable or summary depending on how theyre committedWhat is CrimeA social construct crime is a label applied under particular circumstances to certain acts or omissions suggesting that crime is something that is the product of culturally bounded social interaction Social constructionism the idea that crime like other social phenomena is the outcome or product of interaction and negotiation between people living in complex social groupsCrime and Deviance Crime and deviance overlap Boundary bw the two difficult to draw They are distinct concepts despite their commonalitiesDeviance Deviant behaviour is that which differs from the norm but which is not classified as criminal Not all deviant acts are criminal And not all criminal acts are deviant Deviance is much more inclusive Crime depends on a political process that permits the use of police courts and prisonsThe role of Norms All societies develop normative systems that include Prescriptions formal rules laid down by societywhat we anticipate people will doExpectations Norms therefore include both the formal and informal rules and expectations of societyThe role of setting or context Where an act takes place will also shape whether or not its understood as criminal or merely deviantThe role of Sanctions When norms are violated we sanction or punish people Sanctions are not always legal in nature Sanctions are not applied every time a rule is broken Some who clearly violate prescriptions are not sanctioned at all Sanctions vary in intensity depending on the offenderHeterogeneity of Crime Such a wide variety of behaviours are criminalized that it is impossible to find an intrinsic and shared characteristic The only things that the wide range of crimes share is the feeling or that they should be belief avoidedTheories of Crime In developing theories of crime we should avoid 1 Essentialism the belief that all crimes must share certain common characteristics 2 Casuistrya casebycase approach that suggests no two cases can be viewed as really alike and thus misses opportunities to gain further insights about trends and issuesCriminalization is a Process The exercise of power that often drives or informs the process of labelling acts and people as criminal Criminalization often reflects power differentials ex between the rich and poor or particular interests corporations vs communities within societyCrime as a Cultural and Historical Variation Laws change over time and vary geographically Crime and the study of crime always occurs within a particular historical cultural political and economic contextCrime as a Cultural and Historical Variation Examples of cultural and historical variation all share an implicit assumption that is that the power to determine what is or is not a crime resides in the nation stateCrime and Politics Crime and the study of crime occurs within a social cultural economic and political context Crime and criminal justice policy is now accepted as being a major political issueCriminalization and Punishment Criminalization brings with it punishment but like crime punishment varies based on the seriousness of an offence We cant define a crime by the penalty we assign it Punishment is as variable as crime and as subject to political historical cultural and economic influences as definitions of crime are
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