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Midterm

CRIM 2650 Midterm: Theories Midterm Concepts+Theories

7 Pages
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Department
Criminology
Course Code
CRIM 2650
Professor
Anita Lam

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Theories Midterm Concepts Part 1 (Lecture 1-6)
3 approaches to theory:
1. Scientific theory (Descriptive & Predictive)
Criminology as social science, modeled on physical sciences
o Reduce phenomenon to variables, and measure correlation between variables
o Generalizability
o Predictability
o Ex. Studying crime & poverty – gather stats on variables, measure correlations,
generalize, predict current/future behaviour
o Formal definition of crime – mala prohibita
oQ: What is X? How does X work? Why does X work that way?
2. Normative theory (Prespective)
Criminology as an ethical and legal enterprise – how things ought to work Values &
ethics – part of policy making
Q: How should X work? – takes the form of an argument
Goal: change criminal justice system
Can creep into scientific theory and critical theory
3. Critical theory
o The implications and conditions of doing criminology
o Interested in studying criminology, critique & inquire knowledge
o Q: What are the historical, material, economic or sociopolitical conditions that
gave rise
to X? What makes X possible?
o Interested in the present (how did we get here?)
Concepts around theories
1.Cesare Beccaria (during enlightenment era, 18th century)
Humane punishment
o Facts & values worked hand-in-hand, rational actions and humane actions
o State cannot be cruel to its citizens because it could lead to the brutalization
effect, where people are desensitized, state punishment only legitimizes
vengeance for misdeeds, and leads people to imitate the state... which ultimately
leads to increased violence
Hedonism is Beccaria’s model of human behavior: weigh pain against pleasure
Rational Choice Theory: adopts a utilitarian belief that man is a reasoning actor who
weighs means and ends, costs and benefits, and makes a rational choice.
1. Rationality is bounded (based on limited information, decisions made under pressure,
etc.), but criminal acts are rational choices to satisfy a need
2. Rational Theory
1. Reason vs. passion
Instrumental crime – increasing gains for one, e.g. robbery Expressive crime
– crimes of passion, e.g., murder
Deterrence doesn t have a real effect on expressive crimes
2. Implication of using the concept of rationality
Not even the death penalty will not deter crimes of passion
Social Contract Theory: Exchange the smallest portion of one’s liberty for life of peace and
security in society
Theories of Justice and Ethics:
Deontological approach
Divine command – follow rules by tradition
Absolute moral values
Utilitarianism – to think for the self, maximize happinessGreatest happiness to the greatest
numberHarm principle
Crime defined as an act that injures/harms society (not individuals)
Routine Activity Theory

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Description
Theories Midterm Concepts Part 1 (Lecture 16) 3 approaches to theory: 1.Scientific theory (Descriptive Predictive) Criminology as social science, modeled on physical sciences o Reduce phenomenon to variables, and measure correlation between variables o Generalizability o Predictability o Ex. Studying crime poverty gather stats on variables, measure correlations, generalize, predict currentfuture behaviour o Formal definition of crime mala prohibita oQ: What is X? How does X work? Why does X work that way? 2.Normative theory (Prespective) Criminology as an ethical and legal enterprise how things ought to work Values ethics part of policy making Q: How should X work? takes the form of an argument Goal: change criminal justice system Can creep into scientific theory and critical theory 3.Critical theory o The implications and conditions of doing criminology o Interested in studying criminology, critique inquire knowledge o Q: What are the historical, material, economic or sociopolitical conditions that gave rise to X? What makes X possible? o Interested in the present (how did we get here?) Concepts around theories th 1.Cesare Beccaria (during enlightenment era, 18 century)
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