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SOC205H5 (139)


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Paula Maurutto

Theories in Criminology Soc205 Lec #1 - Office hours are before and after class - Workshops for writing this is a writing intensive course - UofT libraries, ASA format The context and Consequences of Theory Introduction: - Crime is a complex phenomenon and is difficult to study systemically - Crime commentary often exaggerates and sensationalizes the problem - If theories could explain crime then we would have a lot less people in jail - Crime is a very complex phenomenon Criminological theories - Theories reflect the social, economic, political and historical context in which they emerge - Different alternatives to explaining crime, and their limitations - Explanations of crime arise from historical context. And are affected by the context in which they emerge - Moving on from individualistic approach to structural - As theories change so do criminal justice policies - Try to explain prevalent types of crime at that point. What’s a crime today may not be a crime tomorrow o Same sex marriage. - What we define is criminal. Behaviours use to be criminal are no longer criminal today o Treating children same as adults. o History: the thought that people were born criminals. o Modern: ^ away from this theory. Now youth are not regared completely responsible for their behaviour o Prohibition o Homosexuality o We don’t just look at the act but the underlying causes as well which were ignored in the past. o Also dependent on area: Vancouver more lenient on marijuana than Hamilton  Medical marijuana use  law allows - Drug use: Now drug is looked as an addiction problem not a legal problem o More of a medical issue - Bullying in school: o Pinching and hitting in school was tolerated in the past.  Typical boys fighting  Zero tolerance act  Child charged with assault for hitting peer with knapsack  ^huge field shift Historical Explanations of Crime - Spiritual explanations o Tended to locate causes of crime with-in individuals rather than social political factors. o Formed via religious ideas o Stressed conflict between absolute good and absolute evil. Possessed by the devil: the devil made me do it o Witch hunt: people blamed floods on witches. or possession by evil. The punishment was brutal and physical in nature. o Penitentiaries were constructed as places for penitents who were sorry for their sins.  Idea was to make them go through physical turmoil to rid
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