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Lecture 4

SOC212H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Industrial Revolution, Middle Ages, Shoplifting

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Candace Kruttschnitt

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Lecture 4
1. The Classical School
Prior to 18th C, there were also lots of speculation about crime from Plato and
Most speculations based on religious beliefs and superstition
Imagery linking sings to people who have been possessed by evil spirits
It also resulted in the middle ages in many really draconian punishments.
Book by Foucalt (?) Punishments about Damien. Very gruesome During
this time in history, not only were torture common (and public executions),
there was also systematic hunts for witches horribly tortured after being
charged with witchcraft
Over the next 200 years Europe changed dramatically (industrial revolution,
changes in economy, changes in social life, enlightenment period)
Enlightenment thinkers believed that people were rational human beings.
And believed in the social contract (give up some for safety)
If you commit a crime, I don’t want you any longer to take out the guy, but it’s
a violation of the king’s peace. That’s why prosecutors in US are called ‘the
crown’ (they’re viewed as responsible for taking on the case of the victim)
Crime is now centralized (against state than individual)
The Classical school of criminology:
o Ceasar Beccaria (1738-and Jeremy Bentham ( 1748-1832)
o Two fundamental ideas challenged ideas about religion and
o Beccaria argued in this in ‘crimes nad punishents’ when individuals
don’t know whwat is illegal (or the punishment), the deterrant value
is 0. That is we can’t deter crime if people don’t know what is illegal
and what the punishment for it tis. We need to make that known to
the populace; the severity of the punishment handed out by the state
should fit the severity of the offence; laws should also ensure the
greatest amount of happiness. Before laws really privileged certain
classes of people
o In 1823: Bentham built on these ideas (utilitarian)-
Argued that people act in their own self interest
An individual will maximize pleasurable experiences and
minimize painful experiences
Contemporary Versions of the Classical school of thought:
Today we have contemporary version of this classical school of crim
o General deterrence vs. specific deterrence
o General deterrence: crime rates are influenced by threat of
punishment (if you’re scared of punishment for shoplifting is, you
won’t shoplift)--> notions of certainty (of being caught), severity (of
punishment), and celerity (the swiftness. How quickly you are caught
nad how quickly you are punished)
o Problems with deterrence:
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