WDW205 Lecture #1

4 Pages

Woodsworth College Courses
Course Code
Jim Davies

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WDW205 09/10/2012 - definitions of criminology, methods of criminology and exploring various theories of crime causation What is criminology? - the study of criminal activity, why people engage in criminal behaviour - the study of the origins of criminal behaviour - how much crimes there is, whats it nature, measuring it over time - "Criminology is the body of knowledge regarding crime as a social phenomenon. It includes within its scope the process of making laws, breaking laws and reacting toward the breaking of laws" (Sutherland and Cressey) - study the law issue of creation - Criminology is an objective social science. As such it involves : 1) the development of theory 2) the formulation of research hypotheses 3) the collection of information to test research hypotheses 4) the evaluation of research findings - multi-disciplined Areas of Criminological Inquiry - The Criminal Law a) Law creation: The role of social forces play in shaping the criminal law b) The Law in Action: the role that the criminal law plays in shaping society - Crime Statistics a) How common is criminal behaviour? b) what social factors are related to crime? c) How does the extent and nature of crime change through time? - Crime Causation : Why do some people commit criminal acts? Why do most people obey the laws? Micro (individual), Meso (group) and Macro (structural) levels of explanation - Victimology: a) what are the cautions of victimizations? b) How can society help crime victims? - The operation of the Criminal Justice System : The nature and operation of a) the police b) he criminal courts c) the correctional system Crime or Deviance? - Uncommon behaviours : Are all uncommon activities crime? Are all crimes uncommon? - Voluntary vs. Involuntary behaviours - Harmful vs. Harmless behaviours - Are all crime harmful behaviour that hurts an individual? - The social context of behaviour; must be within appropriate context - deviant is a uncommon activity, anything that deviants from the common norm - how harmful can a behaviour be before it becomes illegal? - all crimes are harmful, are often forgetting the debate that how harmful are they - j-walking, gambling, nudity, prositution, use of drugs, selling/obtaining cigars - all crimes that are all equally damaging does not hold weight John Hagan's Typology of Deviance - some conflicts do not engage the criminal justice system - considerably social debate - consensus crimes; has very little debate over the deviance - 98% canadians agree that break and enters should remain illegal - Three interacting variables … 1) evaluation of social harm; very harmful, somewhat harmful, not very harmful 2) agreement about the norm; strong agreement, strong disagreement, confusion or apathy 3) severity of societal response; very severe, moderate, mild Types of Crime and Deviance Consensus Crime (high degree of consensus that it should be criminalized) : murder, rape, armed robbery, child molestation conflict crimes (considerably debate) : pornography, prostitution, drug use, gambling social deviations (unusual, less common) :alcoholism, bi-sexuality social diversions (minor) : body-piercing A definition of crime - a crime is a violation of a criminal law that has been formally established by the state Criminal law - a set of rules legisla
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