Lecture 5 - Modern Criminology and Ancient Crime

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Classical Studies
Classical Studies 2301A/B
Randall Pogorzelski

LECTURE 5: MODERN CRIMINOLOGY AND ANCIENT CRIME What is Criminology? • Extraordinarily flexible subject because it can be approached through various perspectives • Legal approach – defines crime as law-breaking behavior o Laws vary in regards to time and place, so the legal approach is culturally and historically specific • Moral approach – defines crime as what is morally wrong, which may not be against specific laws o Criminality is tied to morality, as we think of criminals as immoral • Social approach – defines crime as violation of social norms, whether or not it actually breaks the law o Emphasizes socially specific nature of the category of crime o Linguistically, ancient Greeks did not distinguish between criminal behavior as law breaking or violating social norms • Humanistic approach – basic human rights that transcend the specifics of culture and violations of human right are criminal whether or not they violate specific laws or social customs o An advantage of this approach is that it is universal – defines criminal for all of humanity • Social constructionist approach – argue that there is nothing natural or universal about the idea of crime, and that it is rather apart of the social fabric of communities • 19 and 20 century criminology o Biological positivism (Lombroso – prison psychiatrist)  Lombroso studied crime scientifically and believed that criminals were biologically different from people  Looked at physical characteristics of criminals o Sociological positivism (the Chicago school)  Scientific approach but re-focuses of social characteristics of criminals  The Chicago school developed the zone of transition (the inner city) o Psychological positivism  Psychological characteristics defines a criminal  Suggests that internal factors, rather than external, predict crime (like the biological positivism approach)  In other words, the focus of this kind of study is on the criminal, rather than the crime • One wa
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