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Lecture 2

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CRIM 104
Barry Cartwright

May 15, 2013 Lecture Two The Classical School, The Positive School, and Émile Durkheim Sociology and Criminology  Sociology and criminology are highly interrelated  Many of the past and present ideas in criminology came from the field of sociology o Example, Émile Durkheim’s work on social solidarity  Until recently, criminology was a sub-discipline of sociology, and was usually subsumed under the sociology department The “Roots” of Sociology and Criminology  The intellectual, philosophical, and historical roots of sociology are similar to the intellectual, philosophical, and historical roots of criminology  Both disciplines are social sciences and quite new, and have their origins in The Enlightenment, as known as the Age of Reason o Period from 1689 to 1789 (began with English Revolution, ended with French Revolution)  During, focus on critical examination of human life, religious beliefs, and society in general  Intellectual movement involving philosophers, political reformers, social theorists, and religious skeptics  More of an emphasis on reason, science, rationality and empiricism  Time of Isaac Newton discovering gravity  Rousseau “Notion of Social Contract” De Montesquieu (1689 – 1755)  Well-known social philosopher  Regarded as the founder of the sociology of knowledge  Studied social facts, social institutions, different types of societies throughout history  Examined how different types of social organization, social class positions, and social conditions affect forms of thought and cultural perspectives o Like contemporary sociologists  Also examined how laws evolved and how they affected social conditions and forms of thought at the time o In times of acceptance of slavery, owning a slave was legal  In times when it was not accept, it was illegal Saint-Simon (1760 – 1825)  Also widely regarded as one of the founders of sociology  Impressed by Newton’s law of gravity and with the scientific method in general – with “the power of reason”  Thought scientific method and scientific doctrine would replace religion as the force that holds society together  Introduced the concept of “positivism” – the application of scientific principles to the study of human phenomenon  Called for a “human science”, which would discover the laws of social development Auguste Comte (1798 – 1857)  Coined the term “sociology”  Like Saint-Simon, Comte was concerned with moral order and moral disunity o Seen in work of Durkheim (morality, social solidarity, social order, state of anomie)  Redefined “positivism” as positive philosophy or outlook – rejected the opposite of the critical, “negativistic” philosophy of the French Revolution and The Enlightenment  Disliked the type of thinking that lead to questioning of social hierarchy and privileged o The overthrow of British monarchy, etc.  Was opposed to social criticism, social conflict, and social change o Preferred social order The Classical School of Criminology  Emerged during The Enlightenment  Not school of criminology per se, but group of philosophers who tried to reform manner in which deviants were treated  Cesare Beccaria  Jeremy Bentham  Need to understand what sort of punishments were given to criminals in order to lead to this reform Before the Classical School  Accused people were presumed guilty, and it was up to them to prove their innocence  Goal was confession of guilt, and was acquired through inquisition, ideally through torture o Put them on the rack and stretch  The few prisons that existed were used to imprison people until they were interrogated, tortured and had confessed to their guilt o Didn’t have notion of sentencing people for term of imprisonment for punishment  The penalty for most crimes was death o Most common outcome o Hanging, dismemberment, burned alive, or a combination  For the crimes that didn’t result in the death penalty, the penalty was physical torture (again) o Flogged, hand cut-off, etc. o Put in “pillory” (hands and head stuck) and public able to harass and assault criminal  Often crimes were treated more like sins o Accused of heresy (not being a good Christian) Time Lines  Demonic (1400 – 1700)  Before Age of Reason, people used to believe the Gods (good and evil) caused everything (from floods to criminal behaviour) o This is called spiritualism or demonism  The devil made me do it  Example, time of Spanish Inquisition  Deviance as evil and beyond human control o This notion has been around as long as humans and tied in with religious beliefs  “Evil Power” – example, the devil o Deviance is caused temptation and moral weakness  Remedied through exorcism and/or execution o See humans as tempted by evil spirits  Example, Eve being tempted by the devil  Classical (1700 – 1800) o Deviance as violation of social contract  Caused by free will and hedonism (individuals seek to maximize pleasure and minimize pain/consequences)  Remedied by deterrence o Idea of hedonism was prevalent in those days and reflected in Classical School o Idea of social contract advanced by Rousseau during time of Enlightenment o In keeping with times, classical school thinkers thought deviance was caused by free will individual making rational choices (not gods, demons or evil spirits)  Rational humans calculate pleasure and risks of any behaviour, and decide if pleasure/reward outweighed risk or punishment  Thus, can deter people with the appropriate amount of pain or punishment (deter freewill, rational, pleasure seeking individuals by making pain/punishment too great) Cesare Beccaria (1738 – 1794)  Founder of Classical School of Criminology and developed in part of a response to all the killing and torture which took place during Demonic period  Torture was unfair – confession may have nothing to do with innocence or guilt o Some people may be guilt but able to withstand the pain o Others might be innocent but can’t tolerate pain and confess  Torture was used on everybody, whether guilty or innocent o If innocent, you were tortured anyway; if guilty, you were tortured too, usually twice o If guilty, but didn’t confess, you got the same punishment as innocent people  The death penalty – people gave up certain rights when they joined society, but never agreed that the state should be able to kill them o Rousseau’s social contract – individuals enter into a contract with society Cesare Beccaria Continued  In his essay, “On Crimes and Punishments” Beccaria said: o Accused people should be presumed innocent until proven guilty  An important feature of many criminal justice systems o Argued in favour of a criminal code  Written document where crimes are described (so everyone knows what is/isn’t a crime) and what punishment they will receive if convicted o Argued against death penalty, it was a one time and once over soon forgotten  Seeing a person suffering in prison for a period of time would have a longer impact in terms of deterrence o Inquisition came after Beccaria because of disliking his ideas o To be an effective deterrent, punishment must be public Jeremy Betham (1748 – 1832)  Wrote “Principles of Morals and Legislation” in 1789  Argued that people were rational and exercised “free will”  Rational people would weigh pleasure against pain (hedonistic calculus) o People were not possessed by demons or evil spirits, but made rational choices based on what they thought the likely outcome would be  Also known for his “penal pharmacy” – his calculation of how much pain was required to offset the pleasure of committing crimes  If the pain of the punishment would last a long time, was intense, or was certain, then a rational person would be deterred from the crime Types of Theories (in this Course)  Macrotheories are broad, and tend to explain the effects of social structure o Example, focus on crime rates and why certain people become individuals o Sometimes called structural theories  Example, Conflict Theory  Sweeping theory, how all societies operate, how and why laws formed, how and why institutions formed, etc.  Microtheories are narrow, and tend to explain the process through which individuals or groups become criminal o Examples, Social Learning Theory, which explains how individuals learn to become criminals or Social Control Theory, which explains how certain internal or external factors control or fail to control an individual’s propensity toward criminal or deviant behaviour o Sometimes called process theories  Bridging Theories attempt to address issues of social structure and the process through which individuals become criminal o May bring together two or three theories to make a more comprehensive theory o Cohen’s theory about delinquent boys and the cult
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