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Intro to Crim. Lecture Notes of Mid-Term 1

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Sociology 2266A/B
Paul- Philippe Pare

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Criminology Study Notes Mid-Term October 25, 2013 1:30 SSC 2050 The History of Crime and Criminology Before the Middle Ages: – official laws did not exist in most early societies – used a basic idea of what is right and wrong (basic morality) – rules learned in traditions, mores, folkways, passed down from elders – some evidence in laws overlapping with religious scriptures: – The 10 Commandments – The Code of Hammurabi (King in Ancient Babylon) 282 laws and punishments officially display on a monument for public knowledge – beliefs of good and evil as supernatural forces (gods, angels, demons) – evil behaviour sometimes seen as result of supernatural influences – Alexander the Great: King of Macedonia. Referred to as “the Third Beast” in bible, “The Two-Horned One” who will ravage earth with Satan in last days in Koran – Attila the Hun: King of the Huns, known as “the scrouge of God” believed to be sent to earth to commit evil – retribution important, morally accepted to take revenge. The strategic value deters future harm. – Stratification of rules/laws: people not equal, slaves have no rights, law/rules different for upper/lower class The Middle Age – still beliefs regarding supernatural evil and importance of retribution – crime seen as conscious decision to sin against God – laws used to protect interests of aristocracy (could carry swords_and against interests of peasants – because sin to God and threat to aristocracy, punishments very severe and brutal – there was entertainment value – appearance of common law in English society: a tradition of unwritten leg precedents created through everyday practise and used as guidelines in the administration of justice – appearance of Habeas Corpus: a rule of law that guarantees individual being detain has right to stand in court and reason must be give for the detention (set free if no reason) The Enlightenment – social movement in18 century – empiricism, rationality, free will humanism and natural laws – reject crime resulting from supernatural evils – crime seen as ordinary rational behaviour, but is harmful to individuals and society – Social Contract (Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau) – everybody must sacrifice small portion of freedom to live harmoniously – for laws to be effective, must have government to enforce them – people retain certain rights that the government must respect – more progressive thinking towards human rights and freedoms, torture and executions questioned, and become more humane The Classical View – direct product of the enlightenment and considered first formal theory in criminology – Basic Principles: – humans are rational (rewards and costs), human behaviour is results of free will and rational choice – humans have basic inherent rights – some behaviours are inherently wrong – punishment is required to deter criminals and serve as an example – the punishment should fit the crime – society provides benefits to those who don't commit crimes – must forfeit some freedoms – crime is harmful because it reduces social bonds – principle of due process: accused presume innocent until proven guilty, not punished until guilt is lawfully enforced The Neoclassical View – same views as classical but with greater emphasis on sentencing issues – criminals should be sanctions for many reasons... – so costs outweigh the rewards – so general population is scared away from crime – because criminals violate the values of their society – and it should be known that values are important and “alive” – specific deterrence (individual), general deterrence (population), justice/retribution, moral eduction The Birth of Crime Statistics – first half of 19 century, emergence of comparative statistics – main idea: crime is not result of free will and rational choice, its caused by various social and economic factors. Must compare statistics of crime for factors to be identified – possible causes: population density, lack of education, poverty – technique: divide city map, calculate rates of crime in each section, look for patterns – conclusion: people in unfavourable social/economic circumstances have higher crime rates (if it was rational choice, crime would be random) – problem: crude analysis, poor data, limited data Early Positivism – refers to the application of scientific techniques to study crime and criminals – believed crime has biological/evolutionary roots, criminals are phsycially different (body types, skull shape, facial features), the notion of “born criminal” was popular at the time – Darwin was indirectly important, his theory of evolution was used to explain criminal activity – Lombroso's Theory of Atavism: – states criminals are physiological throwbacks from earlier stages of human evolution – it is seen as an evolutionary disease – believe atavism predisposed to crime because they have ferocious animal instinct, low intelligence, inability to fit properly in modern society and are animalistic (werewolves) – many criminals didn't fit atavism, Lombroso proposed other types of criminals: – insane criminals, criminals of “passions”, occasional/opportunistic criminals – did not stand test of time, flaws in method and theory, Lombroso cherry picked evidence: pre-selected samples, discounting alternative evidence – modern biological theories of crime focus on specific factors, testable hypothesis and probabilistic causal effects What is a criminologists? – seek to understand crime, criminals and criminal justice system using a multidisciplinary approach – differentiates them from other professions interested in the study of crime Definitions of Crime Legal Definition: a crime is a behaviours forbidden by the law and subjected to a sanction – strengths: definition is simple and technically accurate – limitations: not informative about the justifications of labelling some behaviours as crimes – other considerations: – no crime when an illegal behaviour is justified by law. i.e. self-defence (vigilantism not justified – they look for crime) – no crime within criminal intention. i.e. accidental wrongdoing (negligence not justified) – no crime without capacity: – forced to commit crime – to young to be responsible (under 12) – insanity defence (doesn't often work) – ignorance of law is NOT acceptance as defence unless crime is really unknown Consensus Definition: a crime is a behaviour that violates basic values, beliefs and social needs of society – strengths: definition adequate for many serious crimes – limitations: significant disagreement across individuals and groups Libertarian Definition: a crime is an act of force of fraud (tricks) against the will of someone else – political philosophy that emphasizes individual freedom and government stays out – strengths: definition includes most behaviours that are seen as harmful by most people – limitations: doesn't explain why so many behaviours not related to definition are criminal: drugs, gambling, weapon carrying. Some force/fraud not criminal (spanking children, cheating on partner) Conflict Definition: crime is the label given to some behaviours by people in a position of power to enforce their interests over people with less power – strengths: useful to understand the arbitary nature of certain laws (or absence of laws), lots of historical support – limitations: many behaviours labelling crimes have nothing to do with the interest of the powerful – Ex. street crimes are punished more severely than white collar (all definitions have merits and shortcomings, we must look at all perspectives in criminology) Victimless Crimes and Vices – Victimless crimes and vices: drug use and trafficking, sex trade, violent entertainment, gambling – Should behaviours be criminalized when there is no victim, or people are willing to be involved? – Arguments for legalization: – right to freedom – criminal justice resources could be better used (30% criminals in for minor crimes) – opportunity for legitimate business and government taxation – better protection for “customers” and “service providers” – Arguments for criminalization: – not truly victimless (hurt themselves, dependents, community) – could lead to increased participation – vulnerable people are more at risk of negative consequences – brings extra costs to society (lost productivity, healthcare expenses) – moral education Freedom VS. Social Order: A complex Tradeoff – freedom and social order are two fundamental values of Canadian society – problem: they are competing, you can not have 100% of both at the same time – by labelling some behaviours as crime, we promote social order at the expense of less freedom – we need to be aware of the balance between freedom and social order, its hard to find the right equilibrium, at best we can hope for a minor disequilibrium from one to the other Methods in Criminology QuantitativeApproaches: rely on measuring information about the social world with numbers, main tool is statistics – Experiment: – treatment effect (variable of interest) is controlled by researcher – inclusion in experimental vs. Control groups is random ensuring comparability – causal effects can be inferred – Quasi-experiment: – treatment effect controlled by researcher – groups are not randomly selected – casual effects could be inferred, with reservations – Statistical modelling of non-experimental data: – variety of statistical analysis are used to isolate relationships between explanatory variables and the outcome variables – approach is dependent on our ability to control alternative explanations in the model (you can't decide what the variables will be when testing the real world) – typically, causal effects CAN NOT be inferred, on relationships – Advantages: – useful for hypothesis testing – useful to make sense/make generalizations about large quantities of data – there's always new software and techniques to improve quantitative methods – Limitations: – when the social world is transformed into numbers it becomes biased, limited and often inaccurate – not useful to understand more profound experiences and perceptions, history, emotions Qualitative Approaches: rely on understanding the social world through language, human senses are main tool – Qualitative Interviews: – Open Interview: general questions, subjects choose path of interview, goal is to get subjects to open up – Directed Interview: specific questions, goal to get answers to specific questions – Qualitative Observations – Outsider Observation (researcher status is known) – observe behaviours, interactions in a natural setting. Observe physical environment, changes in time – more ethical, however people act more socially desirable and researchers own values biased can be incorporated – Insider Observation (research status is unknown) – more deceptive, less ethical – going native: fit in extremely well with group and become one of them – emotional attachment: become friends/lovers with group, deceive them when truth is revealed – Historical Analysis: use of historical evidence to describe
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