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Chapter 1

SOC 2700 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Cesare Lombroso, Social Statistics, Ecological Study

Course Code
SOC 2700
Reza Barmaki

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Friday, September 30, 2016
Chapter One - Criminology Theory
Crime and Criminology
- Crime involves some that shock the conscience, and others are just fascinating to
other people. Sometimes they are random people, others can be friends or family
when referring to intimate violence.
- People do not rely on their experience when assessing likelihood of being a victim,
but draw from media, many ppl believe crime has increased when it has not. Creates
a fear of crime, neg. view of police & favouring harsher punishments.
- What is Criminology?
scientific approach to study of criminal behaviour. Social phenomenon.
Criminology and Deviance
Deviance is behaviour that departs from social norms, not always subject to formal
sanction. Broad spectrum; not always crime. May be shocking, but not crime.
Three dimensions of Crime & Deviance: evaluation of social harm, level of
agreement about norm, severity of social response.
Criminologists are concerned w/ concept of deviance and how it relates to
criminality; when do deviant behaviours become crime? what makes them illegal?
A Brief History of Criminology
In Middle Ages: Those who violated norms or religious practices were either
witches or demons; they would be burned at the steak. Even individuals who
were not sold on the demons still wanted harsh penalties for criminals.
Classical Criminology: Mid 18th century, more rational approach between
crime and punishment, balanced and fair. Moderate/just approach to
sanctions. Beccaria believed people were hedonistic, wanted pleasure while
avoiding pain. Prisons started forming, sentences were proportionate
this view is based off utilitarianism: behaviour that is purposeful and
not motivated by any supernatural forces.
Ideas that are part of classical criminology are as followed
1. People freely choose criminal/lawful solutions to meet needs
2. Criminal choices more attractive b/c they use less work for greater
3. People choice of criminal solution can be controlled by fear of
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Friday, September 30, 2016
4. If punishments severe, certain & swift, theyll control criminal behv.
19th-Century Positivism: developed as scientific method took hold in
Europe. Inspired by new discoveries in sciences. Comte believed societies
pass through stages, grouped on basis of how people understand world.
Has two main elements; 1) belief that human behaviour is function of
external forces that are beyond individual control (wealth, class, war,
famine, biology, genetics). 2) using the scientific method to solve
problems, ex; can not believe in ghosts.
Positivist Criminology: Earliest of these studies were biologicxal. Lavater
studied facial features, determined if shape of body parts associated with
antisocial behaviour.
Phrenologists believed external skull characteristics could affect brain
control activity. Gall and Spurzheim studied shape of skull/bumps to
determine if they were linked to criminal behaviour.
Pinel, claimed that people behave abnormally even without mental
illness; coined phrase manie sans delire (mania w/o delusion).
Maudsley believed insanity & crime were linked. Saw crime as an
outlet for insane individuals, they would go mad if not criminals.
Cesare Lombroso & the Criminal Man ATAVISM: studied cadavers of
criminals to see if they were any physically different.
Believed offenders are born criminals who engage in assaults or theft
b/c they inherited criminal traits that forced them into crime life.
Born criminals suffered from atavistic anomalies/traits; they were
throwbacks to primitive times (savages) w/ big jaws and teeth.
Criminogenic traits through heredity, from a family w/ case of insanity,
deafness, syphilis, epilepsy or alcoholism. Primary cause of crime =
indirect heredity; Second primary cause of crime: direct heredity.
Development of Sociological Criminology: Made sense to use Soc. to
study Crim, population was booming. Mainly Quetelent & Durkheim
L.A.J Quetelet: used Social statistics, and was one of first few to use
math techniques to look at social factors (climate, age, sex etc).
Found that social forces were correlated w/ crime rates.
Emilie Durkheim: Saw crime as normal because it existed in every
age, in both poverty and prosperity. Impossible to imagine a society
with no crime, someone will always resort to criminality. As long as
human differences exist, crime is inevitable.
Saw that crime could be useful or healthy for society; if crime
did not exist it meant that everyone would behave the same
way and confirm to all morals, which would stifle creativity &
independence. Calls attention to social change.
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