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Scientific Approach to World Criminology

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Reza Barmaki

SOC307 July 6th Scientific Approach to World Criminology - the scientific approach to the study of crime and deviance - forms of behaviour Science - methodical investigation - rule bound: o data collection o hypothesis testing o formulating theory o ex. 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, spirits) - 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 o wicked – sinful o weak – easily tempted Good Forces and Acts – positive results - harmony - enlightenment - order - peace of mind - normality - salvation - happiness Evil Forces and Acts – negative results - disorder - abnormality - chaos - suffering - unhappiness - damnation - darkness - punishment Various Forms of Punishment By God: - hell - plague By Humans: - excommunication - burning at the stake polytheism: believe in many Gods monotheism: believe in one God Middle Ages Europe (Christianity) - crime and deviance o the work of evil forces o Satan 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: o task completed without injury o injuries healed quickly o premise: God intervenes to help the innocent – divine intervention/miracle Are these true? Are they verifiable? - do not ask questions about the ways of God o you are finite, God is infinite – you will never understand so leave it alone o either you believe or you don’t believe o based on faith, not reason - God works in mysterious ways - God’s reasoning is beyond human understanding Science - 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 o dislocation and migration o alienation and anomie o unemployment and poverty o sanitation and health o physical and mental illness o crime o reliable knowledge and expertise needed to help with problems Early Biological and Physiological Theories of Crime Born Criminal Theory - premise: o criminality is inborn o it shows itself in the physical appearance of the criminal o these signs can be used to identify criminals  body shape, facial features, skull size Physiognomy - 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: o low intelligence o criminality o degeneration (physical and mental) Eugenics - study and practise of severe breeding - applied to humans - goals: o improving the species o countering racial degeneration o preserving the purity of the white race o methods:  promoting marriages of desired races  birth control drugs
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