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Chapter 3

Scott Clark- CRM102 Chapter 3.docx Crime and Criminology and Introduction 1ST EDITION

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CRM 102
Scott Clark

CRM 102: Chapter 3 Biological and Psychological Positivism Introduction • For positivists, crime is explained by reference to forces and factors outside the decision-making ability of the individual • Crime can be best explained by examining individual differences between people, and by demonstrating how these differences are, in turn, linked to certain biological and/or psychological factors that predispose them to criminal behaviour Social Context th • Emerged in the 19 century, period of further consolidation of capitalism and the capitalist mode of production in Europe • 19 century saw the rise of a new social class –the working class or proletariat • Bourgeoisie –capitalists • Life was hard for working class; living/work conditions  harsh, dirty, crowded • While, capitalists class were making lots of money & adopting luxurious lifestyles • Labour Organization: Occurred in 1919 and is known as the Winnipeg General Strike.Approx. 30,000 workers in Winnipeg walked of the job in the largest strike in Canadian history • Strike included right to collective bargaining, eight-hour workdays, & living wage • Natural selection and competition (Charles Darwin), were used to justify and explain the dominance of the Europeans over the rest of the worlds populace • Colonialism and imperialism were seen as a consequence of the natural biological superiority of the white Europeans (racist biological determinism) • Passing of legislation in Britain that banned use of child labour was accompanied by introduction of compulsory schooling and expanded welfare concern over the plight of the children of the poor • Social change was to be managed rationally by use of the scientific criteria of logic and empirical study • Positivist social scientists often viewed society as a type of organism • Made up of different components, working together in order to ensure proper functioning of the system as a whole. If anything became ‘dysfunctional’then correction was required to restore the social equilibrium Basic Concepts • Positivism is based on an idea of a scientific understanding of crime & criminality • Assumes three is a distinction between the ‘normal’and the ‘deviant’, attempts to study the specific factors that give rise to deviant or criminal behaviour • Behaviour is determined; factors and forces outside the immediate control of an individual primarily shape ones activity and behaviour • Offenders vary: individual differences exist between offenders • Positivist views emphasizes difference, which reflects varying conditions affecting each person • Focus is on nature and characteristics of the offender rather than criminal act • Positivists also see crime and deviance as something that likewise can be studied in a scientific manner • Social norms can be violated without being caught/processed formally in the CJS • It is necessary to measure the dark figure of unrecorded crime through the use of techniques such as large scale questionnaires, interviews, and other measures • Positivist approach is directed towards the treatment of offenders Biological Positivism • First popularized through the work of Cesare Lombroso (1911) • Lombroso attempted to distinguish different types of individuals, and to classify them on the basis of racial and biological difference • He believed a general theory of crime can be developed on the basis of measurable physical differences between criminals and non-criminals • Criminal was born, not made; concept called ‘atavism’(Lombroso) • Notion that crime is the result of something essential to the nature of the individual criminal • Lots of tests were invented to distinguish intelligence of criminals and non- criminals, they were believed that non-criminals were more intelligent • Other studies saw physiology (body structure) as a factor of criminal behaviour • William Sheldon proposed a theory based on body build (somatotype) • Sheldon believed human body types can be classified into three broad categories: endomorphic (soft and round), mesomorphic (muscular and strong), and ectomorphic (thing and fragile) and each was associated with a particular temperament: endomorphic (relaxed, sociable, fond of eating), mesomorphic (energetic, courageous), and ectomorphic (brainy, artistic, and introverted) • He argued that mesomorphs were most likely to become criminals (positive correlation between body type and criminal activity) • According to XYY chromosome theory, criminality is related to genetic make-up • Male: XY, female: XX, however an XYY combination was discovered • Believed that those with XYY make-up were far more predisposed of to criminal activity due to their ‘abnormal’height and mental structures • Eugenics is an attempt by society to deal with ones considered mentally/morally defective • See page 44 onAlberta Sexual SterilizationAct passed on March 7, 1928 Psychological Positivism • Crime seen as the result of externally-caused biological problems (ex: war injury) or internal psychological factors (ex: mental illness) that were treatable • Criminal was made, not born • An offender might exhibit the conditions of criminality, but these conditions could be dealt with by scientific diagnosis, classification of condition/illness, and devising the appropriate treatment to fit the condition of each offender • Psychological theories tended to centered attention on the processes of the mind in explanations of criminal behaviour, they included several kinds of perspectives: 1. Some made reference to psychoanalytic theor
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