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Chapter 5

CRIM 210 Chapter 5: Chapter 5- Explaining Crime and Delinquency- In the Beginning…

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Simon Fraser University
CRIM 210
Ray Corrado

Chapter 5: Explaining Crime and Delinquency: In the Beginning… Introduction  Taken for granted understandings differ from scientific beliefs that are accepted as true because these beliefs have been subjected to empirical testing  Empirical Testing: An adjective describing knowledge that is based on observation, experience, or experiment rather than on theory or philosophy  Postmodernists: those who reject or challenge all that has been considered to be modern  Even scientific knowledge has no more claim to truth than taken for granted understandings The scientific method: positivism and criminology th  Positivism: an 18 century philosophical, theoretical, and methodological perspective positing that only that which is observable through the scientific method is knowable Causal relationships  Criterion for determining causality is spuriousness  Whether we can be certain that there is no other causal factor related to both factors  Third factor may be present  Three conditions have to be met before causality can be established 1. It has to be established that there is a relationship between concepts both within and among the propositions that constitute a theory 2. A time priority has to be established between these concepts a. Cause has to come after the effect 3. Spuriousness refers to whether we can be certain that there is no other causal factors Challenges to positivism  Logic of the method is to ensure objectivity  Positivists argue that you cannot ask someone why they committed a crime because his answer will be biased toward their own perspective  Researcher will have to theorize and hypothesize why a crime occurred and hten put the theory to the test Nineteenth century theorizing about crime and delinquency Classical criminology  Classical school of criminology: School of thought that assumes people are rational, intelligent beings who exercise free will in choosing criminal behavior  Bentham argue that repeat offenders should be punished more severely Biological positivism The born criminal  Lombroso o Father of scientific criminology o Examined hundreds of prisoners o Argued that criminals and on criminals were at different stages of development o Physical features of convicted criminals constituted evidence for Lombroso’s theory that some people were quite simply born criminals  Darwin Types of people  Richard Dugale o Looked at 709 members of Jukes family who had criminal records, worked as prostitution or were on welfare o Concluded that these were heredited traits  Goddard o Looked at Kallikak family who identified two distinct types of people, one branch of feebleminded barmaid and the other as respectable girl of good family o Former was full of criminals, alcoholics o Concluded that juke family suffered from degeneracy and innate depravity found that feeblemindedness was viewed as a major casual factor in criminal behavior  Eugenics: a branch of science based on a belief in genetic differences between grousp that result in superiror and inferior strains of people  Defected, and feebleminded  Tainted life blood is responsible for passing on drinking and prostition The Dangerous Class  Consisted largely of poor, struggling to survive people  Often children not seen as defectives, delinquents, or dependants but their parents Twentieth-century theories of delinquency Biological positivism Twins and Adopted Children  Denmark study compared criminal records with biological and adoptive parents  Found crime rates for adopted boys were higher when their biological aprents had a criminal record and that crime rates were higher for adopted boys than for adopted girls found that magnitude of genetic effect as determined by adoption studies is near zero Physique and Crime  Sheldon: Varieties of different youth  Hippocrates introduced the concept of humors, or bodily fluids, which influenced personality  Somatotyping: Sheldon’s method of classifying body type  He could classify three basic body builds o Endomorphic: Fat and soft o Ectomorphic: Thin and fragile o Mesomorphic: Muscular and hard  Mesomorphs were correlated to delinquent behavior Chromosomes  XX = female  XY = male  XYY = 1% of males have it and are known as super male  Used to explain violent criminal behavior  The number of male prisoners with an extra Y is very small  Incident of an extra X among male prisoners equals or exceeds that of the Y chromosome  Male prisoners with an extra Y are least likely group within the prison population to have committed a violent offence IQ, LD, and ADHD  IQ is the higher probability of delinquency  IQ is determined by biological factors and how much by environment factors?  Learning disability is not the same thing as learning difficulty  Requires an approach that accommodates the disability or that teaches youth how to make the necessary accommodations  Adhd, neurological disorder attributes to impulsivity  9x more likely to be found in delinquent children Explaining the Biological Facts  researchers developed a positivistic orientation to explanation, which meant they were trying to find the ways the people they were observing different from non-criminals or non-delinquents  cause and effect relationships are confused  biological explanations failed to consider the possible spuriousness of relationships they thought they had discovered  major problem with biological explanations is that they failed to take into account for environmental impacts on behavior and overestimated the biological impact on behavior Psychological Positivism  Focus on the development of antisocial characteristics to explain criminal and delinquent behavior  Unlike biological theories, some of the psychological theories stress environmental impacts  Six groups of psychological theories o Psychoanalytical theories o Behavioristic o Social learning o Moral development o Personality theory o Antisocial personality theory Psychoanalytic Theories  Crime and delinquency are symptoms of an underlying emotional abnormality or disturbance that stems from childhood  Assume that individual development occurs in stages and that personality abnormalities occur when individuals fail to resolve conflicts that arise in these various stages The underdeveloped/Overdeveloped Superego  Five stages of personality development 1. Oral stage 2. Anal stage 3. Phallic stage 4. Latency stage 5. Genital stage  Conflict arise between id, ego, and superego  Most crucial stage is the phallic stage o Oedipus and electra complex  Child loves the oppsite sex parent and hates the same sex parent  Resolving conflict in this stage requires the child to identify with the same sex parent  Crime and deliqneucny can be the result of either an undeveloped or an overdeveloped supergo  Resolution of these conflicts that leads to the development of the superego o If underdeveloped, superego is not strong enough to control or curb the id drives o Underdeveloped superego, you do what they want without concern for consequences  Overdeveloped eg experience intense anxiety and guilt  Crime is attributed to weak ego  Erikson says there are three possible outcomes when this struggle is not resolved 1. Identity diffusion: occurs when an individual has failed to develop a coherent sense of self 2. Identity foreclosure: develops when individuals have a premature sense of self, such people will experience problems If they fail to meet their own expectations because alternatives have not been considered 3. Negative identity: identities not accepted or approved by others, particularly parents  Erikson says negative identities occur only when important others have failed to respond positively to prior identities  Receiving attention for bad behavior is better than receiving no attention at all Behaviorism  Behaviorism: A branch of psychology base on a set of behavioral principles first developed by B.F. Skinner  Conditioned: behaviors that have been patterned to repeat or stop by a regime of rewards or punishments Social learning theory  Cognitive: having to do with mental processes and how we develop knowledge about and understanding of ourselves and the world around us  Learning process is cognitive rather than
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