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SOC 2700
Scott Brandon

SOC 2700 January 8th Lecture One: Course Introduction Criminological Theory: What is it?  Linking facts together  Way of understanding how and why crime occurs  How can we predict crime?  How can we make sense of criminal behaviour?  Variety of concepts Goals: Explain and Predict  Most theories of crime do both  Explain why we have criminological behaviour  Can we actually predict behaviour based on genetics  Can you prevent criminal behaviour by looking at a variety of factors The Creation and Evaluation of Theory  Theories of crime either explain crime or attempt to predict crime  Evidence helps to verify a theory  Explain a set of observations that we witness  Verification: not easily falsified  Motivate a lot of policies and laws based upon these theories Does Criminological Theory have a use?  Helps to explain why crime occurs  Crime prevention may also be a result  Example: conflict theory (various ways that we can look at crime protection/various groups that will partake in criminal behaviour) Criminological Theories as Explanations  Spiritual  Bad things happen to people because of some spiritual being  Witchcraft trials  Natural  Ties with the physical world  Universal values and ethics  Homicide  Scientific  Observable data made sense of (connected to theory) Why theories cannot be proven  Issue of falsification January 15th Lecture Two: History of Crime – Part One Three Types of Criminal Explanation  External forces: nature, cosmology, and demonology  Criminal behaviour is not due to the individual  Beyond their will  Locus  Hail  Astrological influence: Solar eclipse  Full moon  Possession  “the devil made me do it”  Internal causes  Something internal is flawed  Psychological abnormalities  Medical model: measure, identify, diagnose  Can it be cured? Drug, gene therapy etc.  Group association  Sociological Component  Family (bad parenting)  Discipline (school system) The Objective-Subjective Debate  Objective: behaviour is real  Deviance  Prostitution  Scientific measurement  Concrete, Real  Behaviours have negative components  Subjective: behaviour is constructed  Various ways we define and react to social behaviour  Changing definitions and Public pressures  Marijuana use tolerance ^  Certain types of deviance change over time: abortion, adultery  Gun control issues The Classical School of Criminology (1680-1800)  Tied to the enlightenment period – Separation of Church and State  Role of hedonism (self-interest)  Importance of free will (serial murder) – people choose to commit crime  Social contract: liberty, property, happiness (certain rights are given up for other benefits)  Role of punishment: if people violate the social contract  Utilitarianism: punishment should protect the greatest good for the greatest number  Philosophes (Voltaire, Arouet, Hobbes, Kant and Hume)  Thinking about the ideas of human nature  Criminal has a lot more choice  Steering away from religion and the church to explain criminal behaviour (evil, witchcraft etc.) Cesare Beccaria (1738 – 1794)  Book: “On Crimes and Punishments”  Classification of crimes: high treason, personal security, and public tranquility  Measure of crime: social harm  Punishment and the right to punish *law: unite people in society *authority of judges: has to be given by legislators – very heavily regulated  Evidence and forms of judgement  Punishment as a deterrent *promptness *severity *certainty  Other notes on Beccaria:  Believed excessive sources of punishment would not solve the problem  Question capital punishment: saw it as barbaric  Saw inequality in the law Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)  Book: “Principles of Morals and Legislation”  Similarities with Beccaria  Utilitarianism  Happiness of the people  Punishment as a deterrent  Panopticon
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