WDW101Y1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Cesare Lombroso, Cesare Beccaria, White-Collar Crime

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Published on 11 Nov 2011
Woodsworth College Courses
WDW205H Textbook Notes
Chapter One: Crime and Criminology
-Crime Touches all segments of society
-Involves acts that chock the conscience and others that seem relatively harmless
-Research indicates that habitually aggressive behaviour is often learned in homes in which children are
victimized and parents serve as aggressive role models (learned violence persists in childhood)
-Public fear of crime: important barometer of social health and how people feel about their communities
Criminology & Deviance
-Pg.7 : Hagan’s Varieties of Deviance: depicts relationships between crime and deviance
-three dimensions: evaluation of social harm, level of agreement about the norm and the
severity of societal response
Classical Criminology Pg. 10
-Cesare Beccaria: Italian aristocrat whose writings described both a motive for committing crime and
methods for its control
-Believed that people want to achieve pleasure and avoid pain
-Classical criminology:
1. in every society, people have free will to choose criminal or lawful solutions to meet their
needs of settle their problems
2. criminal solutions may be more attractive than lawful ones because they usually require less
work for a greater payoff
3. people’s choice of criminal solutions may be controlled by their fear of punishment
4. the more severe, certain and swift the punishment, the better able it is to control criminal
-“let the punishment fit the crime”
Nineteenth Century Positivism Pg. 11
-Positivism developed inspired by new discoveries in biology, astronomy and chemistry
1. belief that human behaviour is a function of external forces that are beyond individual control
2. use of scientific method to solve problems
Cesare Lombroso and the Criminal Man Pg.12
-Lombrosian theory: offenders are born criminals, inherit criminal traits that impel them into a life of
-Born criminals suffer from atavistic anomalies (traits) : physically they are throwbacks to
more primitive times, when people were savages
The Development of Sociological Criminology
L. A. J. Quetlet
-began cartographic school of criminology
-Most important finding was that social forces were significantly correlated with crime rates
Emile Durkheim
-vision of social positivism: crime is normal because it has existed in every age, in both poverty and
-crime is essential in society because it is virtually impossible to imagine a society in which criminal
behaviour is totally absent
-as long as human differences exist, crime is inevitable, serving as a symbolic reminder of moral
-existence of crime implies that a way is open for social change and that the social structure is not rigid
or inflexible
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-anomie arises because of rural societies (mechanical) shift to modern societies (organic)
The Chicago School and McGill School Pg. 14
-Robert Ezra Park, Ernest W. Burgess and Louis Wirth: inspired a generation of scholars to conclude
that social forces operating in urban areas create criminal interactions (Chicago School)
-1930s: social psychologists argued that the individual’s relationship to education, family life and peer
relations is the key to understanding human behaviour
-Criminality is linked to the lack of socialization
Conflict Criminology
-Marx: the character of society is determined by the way people develop and produce material goods
-Important relationship is between the owners (bourgeoisie) + means of production
-Marx believed exploitation of working class would eventually lead to class conflict
-Sociologists who applied Marx principles created conflict oriented radical criminology of 1970s
-Economic system for producing the conditions that support a high crime rate
Criminology Today Pg. 15
-Conflict criminologists: see social and political conflict as the root cause of crime
-Inherently unfair economic structure of advanced capitalist countries is the engine that drives
the high crime rate
(1) lack of resources causes the poor to commit crimes (prostitution
(2) powerful are able to define the actions of the poor as crime
-criminology: has a rich history that still exerts an important influence on the thinking of its current
What Criminologists Do: The Criminological Enterprise
-Criminologists are primarily interested in studying crime and criminal behaviour
-Concept summary Pg. 16 1.2 “The Major Perspectives of Criminology”
Criminal Statistics Pg. 16
-Criminal statistics: involves measuring the amount and trends of criminal activity
-Try to create valid and reliable measurements of criminal behaviour
-Study of criminal statistics is one of the most crucial aspects of the criminological enterprise: without
valid and reliable data courses, efforts to conduct research on crime and create criminological theories
would be futile
Sociology of Law Pg. 17
-Sociology of law: another subarea of criminology; concerned with the role that social forces play in
shaping criminal law and role of criminal law in shaping society
-Criminologists partake in updating content of criminal law
-Law must be flexible and respond to changing times and conditions
Theory Construction
-Theory construction: why do people engage in criminal acts?
-May be concerned with social, physical, psychological, political factors; criminologists are not
completely sure
Criminal Behaviour Systems Pg. 20
-involves research on specific criminal types and patterns (violent crime, theft crime, public order crime
and organized crime)
-white collar crime: business related offences
-study of criminal behaviour also involves research on the links between different types of crime and
criminals (crime typology)
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