CRIM 2653 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Beveridge Report, Fred Titmus, Crime Science

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16 Aug 2016
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Course
Professor
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of 5
Knepper:
-discusses many dominant theoretical frameworks in criminology
1st chapter: talks about experimental criminology, left realism
2nd chapter: talks about chicago school, strain theory
1. highlight the different methods that criminologists use
2. understand the political stakes of criminology
Criminological research isn’t the kind of social science research that is done out of academic
interest
there is a substantive real life difference between studying criminology and other fields of
society
^-when we study criminology, we are developing ideas, seeking to either substantiate and
destroy myths about crime or criminals that will eventually have an impact of society and
criminology
Crime is a policy matter, the government writes criminal law
^-your safety is tied to the authorization we give the state
Criminological research is both timely in the sense that it is relevant to real world circumstances,
and it has policy implications for how the state ought to respond to crime
-even though criminology has a long and very robust theoretical tradition, even criminological
theory is very different from philosophy..it’s different in the sense that anybody who studies
crime has the real world in mind, has the practice in mind..the theory is practical and applicable
even critical criminologists who look at crime from a different perspective
it’s important to understand that the theories we study have a practical application
Definition:
-what do we mean by the terms criminology and social policy?
-the role of criminology and criminological research in policy?
^-criminology as a discipline has policy implications
-one must clarify its angle of vision..are we interested in crime as a social problem?
-should criminologists themselves be part of the policy-making process?
^-many say yes because their job is to provide empirical evidence
other criminologists, critical criminologists, say that our job is not to address policy-makers..it is
to illuminate the politics behind it (the social relations)
-our questions are not driven by the demands of the state
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-larger question: in a free and democratic society, should the state have a monopoly on the
knowledge of crime? and should the law be an outcome of the delivery of the agents of the
state?
-is it appropriate and necessary for researchers to deliberately take a position that is perhaps
antagonistic to the state or outside of the state?
^-some people say we have to do that because we are the only ones protected enough to ask
these questions of the state
-the point made by Knepper is that criminological research is directed at policy in one way or
another..we are in fact directing our efforts ultimately at policy
-criminology, as Knepper says, it is like policy as it directs action
^-they want a policy or law to change
-they want to operationalize their ideas in real life
-some people call this applied research, meanwhile others believe it is more theoretical than
that
Knepper discusses the relationship between criminology and social policy:
Criminology:
-for criminology, criminology is only concerned with the extent and distribution of criminal
conduct in society (why do people commit crimes and how do they commit crimes?)
-it focuses on the history, structure, and operation of the criminal justice system
-criminology is focused on the social, political, and economic influences on changing definitions
of crime and criminality
Social Policy:
-the role of the state in distribution of resources and opportunities between rich and poor,
workers and dependents, old and young
-apportionment of responsibilities of distribution of government and other social institutions
-understanding of the social and economic consequences of different arrangements
-public policy is about how to distribute resources within a society..how do these resources get
prioritized? different crimes get publicized and popularized during different times (post-911 era-
terrorism)
-social policy is about distribution of resources, the distribution of roles and responsibilities
among social institutions and the agents of the state..it is about gathering knowledge and
understanding the consequences of different political arrangements
-one of the roles that the states played up until 2006 was a source of information gatherer..one
of the most important tools was the census, which has now been stripped to meaninglessness.
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Relationship between Criminology and Social Policy:
-the transition to understanding crime from a sociological perspective
-in the first decades of the 20th century as a shift from understanding crime as a problem that is
a function of a defect in the individual (the product or actions of a deviant class) and it moves to
understanding that crime was a social problem that must be understood in the wider context of
society
-in the 1940s, the Beveridge report of 1942 identified he called the 5 giant eagles
(page 5): he uses a moralistic language of the 19th century but uses a larger problem to which
he attributes to the causes of crime
-contemporary criminology as a sociology and as a source of policy options is really something
that is prominent in the post ww2 era in the emergence of the welfare state..the goal is to
resolve longstanding social problems
-this is a kind of socioeconomic, social engineering that is characterized by its interdisciplinarity,
the empirical nature of its research, and the opposition to folk notions of crime..
-people are interested in addressing social crimes and problems in an interdisciplinary way..
^-the institutes established at the institution of York in England (bring in sociology, psychiatry,
psychology, etc..these disciplines are incorporated into the study to understand what is driving
crime in society)
Radzinowicz and Titmus: they studied crime and social policy in a similar way:
1) interdisciplinary
2) focused on social conditions on the causes of crime
3) trying to provide empirical evidence for the causes of crime and ways to solve the crime
problem
The State and Social Science:
-Knepper tries to track the main intellectual debates between criminologists over their role in
policy formation:
-positivist: policy formation based on statistical information
-he talks about 4 kinds of criminology in this series of theories:
1) experimental criminology: the most positivist of all the forms of criminology..Experimental
criminology is the use of advanced experimental methods to answer key questions about
the causes and responses to crime.
this is still prominent today, especially in the US..many of the key features of experimental
criminology are still used as indicators of validity of various policy options by the state itself..the
essence of experimental criminology was the most positivist, it assumed that the best
knowledge of crime and criminality could be learn by replicating the procedures used by
scientists in the lab or emulating lab techniques on criminals and criminal situations in order to
build up a body of knowledge about crime..their method was focused on the traditional form..the
whole idea was to have a controlled group and a randomized group that would be the subject
group, either for behaviour modification or some sort of therapy or something..they were also
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