Chapter 3.docx

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26 Apr 2012

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Chapter 3
Theories of Crime: Learning and Environment
Psychodynamic Theories:
Sigmund Freud (unconscious mind, defence mechanisms and various therapeutic
Humans are thought to be inherently antisocial, driven by pleasure-seeking and
destructive impulses
Crime generally occurs when these (often unconscious) impulses are not adequately
References to 'inner drives,' 'traumatic situations,' and 'protecting defences' are
commonplace in psychodynamic explanations of crime
ID = present at birth and represents unconscious, primitive, and instinctual desires
Governed by pleasure principle: it seeks to immediate pleasure with little
consideration of the undesirable consequences that may result if an impulse is acted
Ego = attempts to mediate between one's primal needs and society's demands
Guided by reality principle: its development coincides with the emergence of reality-
oriented thinking and it allows the id to function in socially acceptable ways by
suppressing the id's impulses until appropriate situations arise
Guided by the superego
Superego = represents the internalization of group standards, typically conveyed to the
child through parental care and discipline, and it acts as a moral regulator, tasked with
the job of over-seeing the choices we make
Two sub-systems: conscience and ego-ideal
Freud and his five psychosexual stages (table on page 72)
Argued that difficulties resolving conflicts within any given stage can potentially result
in problems with personality development, which would be apparent in one's
The individual who commits crime as a result of a harsh superego is sometimes referred to
as a neurotic criminal
Deviant identification = identification with a deviant role model (when someones parents
are deviant and they follow in their footsteps)
The superego plays an important role in the development of crime but does not provide
information about the actual causes of crime
Theory of maternal deprivation (Bowlby) how juvenile delinquency develops
Thought that for children to develop normally they needed constant maternal care,
otherwise many harmful and potentially irreversible long-term effects may occur and
therefore exhibit antisocial patterns of behaviour
This theory however did not stand to be true
Glueck and Glueck also touched based on this but concentrated more on 'mental
conflict,' 'tensions between repressed and forgotten emotional experiences and more
recent experiences,' and 'divergent instinctual energy propulsion's' in typical
psychoanalytic fashion
Proposed a tentative causal formula that they figured could be used to predict who
would become engaged in juvenile delinquency by drawing on their physical,
temperamental, attitudinal, psychological, and socio-cultural data they could make
accurate predictions, from a very young age, about the likelihood of children getting
involved in crime
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