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SOC307H5 Lecture Notes - Scientific Method, Physiognomy, Demonology

Course Code
Reza Barmaki

of 6
July 6th
Scientific Approach to World
-the scientific approach to the study of crime and deviance
-forms of behaviour
-methodical investigation
-rule bound:
odata collection
ohypothesis testing
oformulating theory
oex. bio/chem/physics
-all sciences use the scientific method
-it is what makes them “sciences”
-observation/data collection/hypothesis
What are other approaches?
How are they different from the scientific approach?
Religious Approach (pre-scientific/unscientific)
-premises of all religions
-A- there are supernatural forces beyond ordinary human powers (demons, gods, angels,
-B- control/intervene natural and social processes
-C- this can be direct/indirect through humans or animals
-D- some for good and some for bad (evil) – crime/deviance
The First Murder – Cain kills Abel
-why humans commit evil acts (crime)?
-1. influenced by evil forces
-2. their own nature
owicked – sinful
oweak – easily tempted
Good Forces and Acts – positive results
-peace of mind
Evil Forces and Acts – negative results
Various Forms of Punishment
By God:
By Humans:
-burning at the stake
polytheism: believe in many Gods
monotheism: believe in one God
Middle Ages Europe (Christianity)
-crime and deviance
othe work of evil forces
oSatan is the boss of all evil …
-possessed or influenced - negatively
-satanic forces: witches and demons
Demonology – Criminology in the olden days
-a branch of theology
-study of malevolent supernatural beings
-how they influence humans to act
-punishment for such acts
Burning at the Stake
-ultimate punishment by humans
Trial of Ordeal – justice system
-method of determining guilt/innocence
-accused was asked to perform painful and/or impossible tasks
-innocent if:
otask completed without injury
oinjuries healed quickly
opremise: God intervenes to help the innocent – divine intervention/miracle
Are these true?
Are they verifiable?
-do not ask questions about the ways of God
oyou are finite, God is infinite – you will never understand so leave it alone
oeither you believe or you don’t believe
obased on faith, not reason
-God works in mysterious ways
-God’s reasoning is beyond human understanding
-systematic observation, testing, data collection
-scientists do not refer to Gods, demons, and angels to explain the world
-including human behaviour
Why did science become the predominant way of understanding the world?
Modernity and Rise of Science
3 Main Components
1. industrialization – large scale, organized production and use of technology and science
2. urbanization – rise of cities with large populations
3. capitalism – production of commodities for profit making
-all needed reliable knowledge/expertise for their operation/planning
-they also created numerous problems
odislocation and migration
oalienation and anomie
ounemployment and poverty
osanitation and health
ophysical and mental illness
oreliable knowledge and expertise needed to help with problems
Early Biological and Physiological Theories of Crime
Born Criminal Theory
ocriminality is inborn
oit shows itself in the physical appearance of the criminal
othese signs can be used to identify criminals
body shape, facial features, skull size
-concentrated on facial features and their supposed connections to personality traits
Compared to What?
-idealized images of European, white races
-pure, perfect, innocent, superior, white race
The Theory Reflected
-racial and class hatred
-lower classes/races considered:
olow intelligence
odegeneration (physical and mental)
-study and practise of severe breeding
-applied to humans
oimproving the species
ocountering racial degeneration
opreserving the purity of the white race
promoting marriages of desired races
birth control drugs
manage restrictions
forced sterilization
forced abortion
Franz Joseph Gail: Phrenology
-brain: location of our personality traits
-each part contains certain traits