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Chapter 6

SOC 2700 Chapter 6: Chapter 6

3 Pages

Course Code
SOC 2700
Reza Barmaki

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Trait Theories (chapter 6, pp. 162-177)  TV shows and movies that portray violent criminals as mentally deranged and physically abnormal play an important part in our culture.  Trait theories: these approaches look at the combination of biological and psychological attributes that might explain criminality.  Trait theorists focus on basic human drives that are linked to antisocial behaviour- aggression, violence and impulsivity. They recognize that crime involves both personal traits, such as intelligence, personality, chemical and genetic makeup on the one hand and the environmental factors such as family life, educational attainment, and neighbourhood conditions on the other Development of Biological Theories  Cesare Lomborosos work on the born criminal and identification of primitive atavistic anomalies is based on what he believed to be sound empirical research established scientific methods.  Raffaele Garofol believed that certain physical characteristics indicate a criminal nature.  Enrico Ferri believed that biological and organic factors cause delinquency and crime. He also believed that criminals should not be hed personally or morally responsible for their actions because social forces outside their control cause criminality  Study: “degenerate family” he traced a family’s history for 150 yrs. He claimed he had proved the existence of hereditary criminality saying fornication is the backbone of their habits, flanked on one side pauperism, on the other by crime. The secondary features are prostitution, with its complement of neglect and mis-education in childhood  Another type at looking at criminal anthropology was the somatype: an idea used in a system developed categorizing people on the basis of their body build. Associated with the work of William Sheldon  Socio-biology: the branch of science that views human behaviour as motivated by inborn biological urges and desires. The urge to survive and reproduce motivates human behaviour (Edmund O Wilson) o Sociobiologists view the gene as the ultimate unit of life that controls all human destinies, while environment and experience are viewed as having an impact on behaviour. Most important, socio-biology holds that people are controlled by the innate need to have their genes survive. o They want to ensure their own survival and that of others who share their gene pool o Sociobiologists view biology, environment and learning as mutually interdependent factors. Sheldon’s Somatypes:  Body types were associated with personality characteristics.  Sheldon identified 3 categories: o the endomorph: characterized by a preponderance of body fat (love to eat) o The mesomorph: characterized by a well developed musculature o Ectogrpah: neither much muscle tissue, nor body fat (quiet)  The soma type is intended to act as an identification tag Modern Biological Theories:  Socio-biology has helped receive interest ub the biological basis of crime  Environmental forces can trigger antisocial behaviour in people biologically predisposed to deviance, or if conditions are right, mediate or offset the effects of biological predisposition  Biological trait theory has several principles: First different
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