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Sociology 2266A/B Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Motor Vehicle Theft, Oversampling, Cherry Picking

7 pages63 viewsFall 2013

Course Code
Sociology 2266A/B
Paul- Philippe Pare
Study Guide

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Crim Midterm Notes
Before the Middle Ages
Basic idea of what is “right” and “wrong” (ie. basic morality)
Traditions, mores and folkways taught acceptable and unacceptable behaviour
Evidence of laws in some societies, but overlapped with religion
o 10 Commandments (Judaism & Christianity)
o The Code of Hammurabi
Laws and punishments were displayed on a rock in the middle of Babylon
Believed “good” and “evil” were supernatural forces and that they played a role in the lives of
o Alexander the Great “The Third Beast” & “The Two Horned One” who will revenge the
Earth with Satan
o Attila the Hun “Scourge of God”
Revenge is okay in an “eye for an eye” matter
The Middle Ages
Crime was considered a sin you made the conscious decision to sin against God and you will
live an immoral life
Laws protect the bureaucracy/aristocracy and not the peasants
Punishment was sever and brutal
Appearance of common law
o Tradition of unwritten legal precedents used as guidelines in the administrative of justice
Habeas Corpus
o Get to go in front of a judge
The Enlightenment
Age of reason
Promoted ideas such as empiricism, rationality, free will, humanism & natural laws
Crime is not a result of supernatural forces, but just ordinary behaviour that is harmful to
individuals and society
Social Contract
o There must be a government to enforce laws
o Everyone must give up a little freedom in order to live together in a society, but people
have certain rights that the government must respect
o Without laws, life it “solitary, nasty, brutish and short”
Unrestrained torture and the execution of criminals is questioned
The Classical View
Often considered the first formal theory in criminology
Humans are rational and behaviour is due to free will and rational choice
o Increasing pleasure and decreasing pain
Basic inherent rights, some of which are “wrong”
Punishment is important as it serves as a example to others who are considering committing
Crime reduces social bonds between members of a society
Innocent until proven guilty
The Neoclassical View
Same as classical, but more emphasize on the sentencing issues
Criminals should be punished because:
o The cost of crime overwrites the rewards for criminals
o Send a message to the general population and they are “scared-away” of crime
Crime Statistics
Comparative Statistics: crime is not just because of free will and rational choice, it is caused by
many social and economic factors as well
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Crim Midterm Notes
o By comparing the statistics on crime the factors can be identified:
Possible causes
Early Positivism
Scientific techniques to study crimes and criminals
Crime has biologically/evolutionary roots and criminals are physically different from non-
“Born a criminal” was popular at this time because of the biological emphasis
Theory of Atavism (Lombroso): criminals are psychological throwbacks from earlier stages of
human development
o Since many criminals didn’t fit the theory, he proposed there’s different types of
ie. insane criminals, criminals of “passion”, occasional criminals
o Atavism was a revolutionary theory at the time, but did not last the test of time as there
was many flaws in the methods and theory
Cherry picking the evidence, pre-selected samples
-Behaviour forbidden
by the law and
subjected to a
-Definition is simple and
technically accurate
-Not informative about the
justifications of why things are
Also consider:
No crime when an illegal behaviour is justified by law
o You have the right to defend yourself from mortal dangers
o Vigilantism is not justified
No crime without criminal intent
o Accident wrongdoing
o Negligence can be criminal
No crime without capacity
o Being forced to commit a crime
o Ignorance of the law is not acceptable as a defence
-Behaviour that
violates the basic
values, beliefs and
social needs of a
- Adequate for many
crimes, especially serious
-Very different societies
can agree that these
behaviours are harmful
and unacceptable-
-Significant disagreement between
individuals and society regarding
values, beliefs and social needs
-Some behaviours are seen as
crimes by some people and not
-An act of force or
fraud against the will
of someone else
-Includes most
behaviours that are
unacceptable and harmful
-Does not include why some
behaviours not related to the
definition are crimes
-Some forms of “fraud or force” are
not considered criminal
-The label given to
some behaviour by
people in power to
enforce their interests
over the less powerfull
-Useful to understand the
arbitrary nature of some
laws, and the absence of
-Many crimes have nothing to do
with the interests of the powerful
-Many people from both spectrums
agree with labeling certain
behaviours as crimes
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