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Crim 1650 - 60+ pages of ALL LECTURES!

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York University
CRIM 1650
James Williams

Conflict Critical Marxist ApproachSept 28 2010DefinitionA crime is an act prohibited by those in positions of social power as a means of protecting their own values and interestsQuinney 1970 Talking about power conflict class interest Moved away from incests where same family and values Recognizes that society is divided into a number of different social groupps Unequal number of resources and power and etc Elements1Society is characterized by conflict rather than consensus2Defining crime is a political exercise3Definitions of criminalbehaviour reflect the interests of the powerfulThings that are illegal are things that threaten things in power ruling classExample Prohibition of Alcohol 1920 1 Professed need for sober workforce to cut down on workplace accidents 2 belief that workers would have more money to spend on other commodities if not food then other goodsservices 3 Assumption that if theres less alcohol then less crime 4 Saloonsurban lowerclass workers Catholics where antirevolution ideas form therefor a threat 1933 1 If alcohol given legally taxes can be put and used 2 This can be a source of employment and economic growth 3 Prohibition undermined the legitimacy of the lawOutcome of politicalsocial processLimitations1Instrumental view of law and overreliance on class as an explanatory variable Sees it as a tool Neglects situations where laws emerge contrary to the interest of the powerful 195060s legislations were made for workplace and not powerful showing balance Class neglects gender race and sexuality equally important often overlooked2Neglecting the process through which behaviour is criminalized Conflicts dont look at all the processesLessons learnedCrime as a social phenomenon A socialpoliticaleconomic process reality 1Definitions of criminal behaviour are the outcome of a social process in which definitions are created imposed and resisted2This social process is informed by social political and economic conflicts power relations and forms of inequality race gender sexuality3Definitions vary across societies and cultures and time periods Theyre not set theres a flow Sometimes fade out alcohol in terms of place and sometimes time4Constructions of crime and criminal behaviour are informed by a variety of crime myths and mythmakers Criminal law categories are artful creative constructs designed to criminalize only some victimizing behaviours usually those more frequently committed by the relatively powerless and to exclude others usually those frequently committed by the powerful against subordinates The social context of Crime1Definitions of criminal acts before actions defined as crime has to be in the criminal book as a stcrime1 variable2You need an individual who does something criminal in nature in which someone witnesses it or a victim feels it and here the police must be notified to determine if the action is an incident of a criminal act First variable Is whether or not a category of behavior is determined a crime on the books Is assault a category of activity thats officially included on the books as a crimeSecond variable If so how are those things implicatedPatterns of Crimes in CanadaOct 51Crime rate comparable to what it was in 19782Majority of crimes are nonviolent3Majority of violent crimes are perpetrated by nonstrangers4Most crimes do not involve the use of a weapon or involve serious injury5What are my chances of becoming a victim of violent crimeThe Use and Abuse of Crime Statistics1The role of statistics in Claimsmaking Ex Politicians media police All these crimes help justify the services they supply of crime Constructionist approach fits best2Forms of abuseiUse of aggregate measures Ex category of violent youth crime includes individual crime homicide assault Fundamentally misleading iiManipulation of time frame Selective focus on a very specific time in order to make a claim that crime is on the rise iiiNeglect of changes in definition of crime andor data collection methodsivEmployment of False or deceptive formats3Case Study 1 The missing child problem 86 of these kids are not taken away by strangers rather the run away or are taken by family members 10 Stranger abduction 61 of the cases were determined by the police as something sexual 0006 affects social meaning Proof of how definitions impact statistics4Case Study 2 Measuring serial murder ConclusionThe Politics of Crime Statistics1Production and Collection of statistics Hackler 2000 Crime statistics do not measure criminal behaviour they measure the response of various agencies to their perception crime2Use of Statistics Best 1998 Activists use statistics to persuade but these numbers must be understood for what they arepart of the rhetoric of social problems promotion Statistics are products of social processes and they have social consequences When trying to understand social problems we need figures we can count on but we especially need to know what it is were counting Whats the source and what will they gainExplaining Crime and Criminal BehaviourVariablesTheoriesA Model of Behaviour1IndividualIndividualDeterminismBiological and PsychologicalFree WillRational Choice Theories2SocialSociologicalB Model of Society1 ConsensusSocial Process TheoriesStructural Theories2 ConflictConflict TheoriesBiological and Psychological TheoriesHistorical Context1Middle Ages Demons and witchcraft relationship between sin and crime people that were involved with crime are considered posseted and had to be killed2EnlightenmentPostEnlightenment 1880s1900s shift away from spiritual view to a natural view Human behaviour is driven by natural causes rather than spiritual Shift towards nature human activity can be studied through scientific studies and instruments Focus purely on the physical body visible to the naked eye not the biological Phrenologists 18001850s believed that you could by studying the structure of the skull determine the persons character mental capacity and their potential criminality People began practices of touching the skull with indications of certain bumps and spots being considered a person is a criminal Interested in how abnormal brain development causes crime Feeling for bumps and hollows in the skull to detect abnormality and relate it to crime Lombroso and the Theory of Atavism 1876 were recognized as the father of Criminology Was the first to apply a rigorous scientific method to the study of the human body Army doctor and physician He compared criminals and soldiers identifying characteristics of the born criminal Criminality is inherited 5 out of the 18 listed things would mean a person is a criminal said Lombroso Atavistic refers to the idea of criminals being throwbacks Resembles humans at a previous state in the evolutionary cycle Sheldon and the criminal Physique 1949 Concerned about the body shape and form Three different body types Endomorph soft and round eating relaxed and sociable Mesomorph strong and muscular assertive energetic creative Ectomorph Skinny and fragile smart introvert brainyPositivismAssumptions1Human beings have unique biological characteristics and psychological traits that predispose them towards crime therefore criminals are fundamentally different from the rest of us It argues that social relations and events including crime can be studied scientifically using methods derived from natural sciences2Using established methods of scientific observation we can distinguish between criminals and noncriminals based on their physical biological and psychological attributesie those who have a propensity or predisposition to commit criminal behaviourBiological TheoriesVariations1Neurophysiological damage brain structure2Genetic Individuals that have an extra Y chromosome was associated with excessive violence No clearcut theory of genetic criminal activity 3Biochemical Imbalances hormone levels testosterone adrenaline were all alleged to be associated with criminal activityCase Study The Psychopath1Historical Context2Robert Hare and the Psychopathy checklist
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